Miles Davis: Go Ahead John (part two C)
Go Ahead John (part two C)
Miles Davis (leader)
The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Legacy 803180)
Composed by Miles Davis.
Recorded: New York, March 3, 1970
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
"Go Ahead John" was simply named for a Miles Davis exhortation to guitarist John McLaughlin. "Go Ahead John (Part Two C)" is a short section taken from the whole tune which would eventually be created from snippets of short pieces … well, it gets a little complicated. Let's just say it is the part where John goes ahead. Other extended versions of the song would turn up a few years later on Davis's Big Fun album. But its birth was on these earlier sessions.
John McLaughlin, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette are the performers on this take. This is electric jam band music in the vein of Medeski Martin & Wood produced decades before there was a Medeski Martin & Wood or jam band music. The groove is dug so deep that you could put water in it and swim around. In fact, you could put a submarine in that water fully loaded with ballast and still not hit bottom. Is that deep enough for you? This is the shit.
The thing to keep in mind about this whole fertile period in Davis's career was that Miles was in a candy store. He had all these new young musicians around him. By the time the Jack Johnson sessions were happening, he was quite familiar with Holland, DeJohnette and McLaughlin. But he was still hearing new things from them. That's why Miles lived. He wanted to hear and play new things. But during this time extra attention was paid to McLaughlin because Miles wanted a rock guitar sound in his music. In McLaughlin he found someone who could offer that while understanding – and in some cases pushing past – jazz dynamics. Miles just loved to listen to McLaughlin play. So when he says, "Go Ahead John," he means it! Miles says something off mike after the cut. You can't quite hear it. But you know it was his scratchy voice voicing approval. He loved listening.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky