Miles Davis tribute mixes it up
Singer Giacomo Gates is having a good time with themes, but does not want to turn them into patterns.
His current album, “Miles Tones,” is a collection of Miles Davis hits, given lyrics by writers from Jon Hendricks to Al Jarreau. At gigs such as the one July 21 at the James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy on the North Side, he will do a number of songs from the album, but he does not restrict himself to them.
“We don't want to do the album and nothing else,” he says. “That would get kind of boring, show after show.”
At the same time, his past two albums have been theme-oriented and quite successful. “Miles Tones” spent four weeks at the top of jazz playlists earlier in 2013. His last album, “The Next Revolution Will Be Jazz,” is a homage to composer Gil Scott-Heron and was six weeks at the top in 2011.
Such popularity would supply a reason to focus on that music, but he would rather mix it up. He says creating a blend in performance “adds an element of spontaneity, and I always hate to see that disappear.”
Gates is well-known for creating a blend of music with his baritone. He is a classic jazz singer, often delving into long scat passages. His material most often comes from jazz standards, material from the Great American Songbook and show tunes.
He will be performing here with drummer Roger Humphries, guitarist Marty Ashby and bassist Tony DePaolis.
Gates often will create lyrics for instrumental tunes or use famous ones created by other performers, such as Eddie Jefferson. Gates says understanding the direction of a song is a necessity to writing appropriate words.
For instance, Davis' “Milestones” is a reference to markers, so why not do measurement-oriented words? He then came up with a reference to “yardsticks, meters, inches, liters,” and ways of measuring life.
“The lyrics can come from anywhere,” he says.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Takacs Quartet excels in Haydn, Debussy
- Linda Eder performs striking range of music
- One of brass’s ‘Legends’ comes to play with River City Brass in Penn Hills
- Neil Diamond bringing tour to Consol Energy Center
- Childs’ new look at Nyro’s works is indeed a ‘Treasure’
- Grammy-winning singer Austin brings range, freshness to Manchester Craftmen’s Guild show
- Patti Austin keeps the music playing, no matter the style