Teo Macero, R.I.P.

Macero recordings

Just learned that Teo Macero (1925-2008) has died in Riverhead, NY. He was 82. 

After graduating from the Juilliard school in 1953, Macero became a member of the Charles Mingus's Jazz Composers Workshop, recording with Mingus between 1953-55 playing tenor and baritone saxophones. With Mingus, Teddy Charles, and Gunther Schuller, he became interested in what would become known as the third stream, ie. combining elements of classical music and jazz. He wrote several atonal classical works that showed his jazz influence.

He is an Emmy Award winning film and television composer and was instrumental in developing Miles Davis fusion movement.

Ben Ratliff of the New York Times writes: 

"Helping to build Miles Davis albums like “Bitches Brew,” “In a Silent Way” and “Get Up With It,” Mr. Macero (pronounced TEE-oh mah-SEH-roh) used techniques partly inspired by composers like Edgard Varèse, who had been using tape-editing and electronic effects to help shape the music. Such techniques were then new to jazz and have largely remained separate from it since. But the electric-jazz albums he helped Davis create — especially “Bitches Brew,” which remains one of the best-selling albums by a jazz artist — have deeper echoes in almost 40 years of experimental pop, like work by Can, Brian Eno and Radiohead.

Davis’s routine in the late 1960s was to record a lot of music in the studio with a band, much of it improvised and based on themes and even mere chords that he would introduce on the spot. Later Mr. Macero, with Davis’s help, would splice together vamps and bits and pieces of improvisation. " 

There's an interesting interview with Macero by Iara Lee on the Perfect Sound Forever site. You can also read the Wikipedia article here. A nice tribute on the Rock Turtleneck blog site. You can also find a page about his saxophone music at the saxnewworks wiki

Here's Macero talking about his work with Miles Davis.

And this clip about Macero