logo

FUSION-MILES-JAZZ-HISTORY

n  ENTER HERE
— dave.

[  ON  ]

Miles.

… and then there was cooL.

w/ FUSION

In the immediate decade after the emergence of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, Rock N Roll and Jazz didn’t mix. At the time, teenagers excited by the Beatles had little interest to the tunes they were forced to listen to when out with their parents for a jacket-and-tie dinner. Often at the summer resort in the Catskills, or on a long-awaited vacation on Miami Beach.

Miles Davis was what could be described as “lurking” in the shadows, listening to everything, and somewhat quietly collecting his music-compositional thoughts until the end of the 1960s.

East St. Louis Toodle-Oo
b/ Steely Dan

((play))

— photographer?

Face to Face With The “Prince Of Darkness”

Miles Dewey Davis III
(trumpet)
May 26, 1926 — Alton, Illinois
Sept 28, 1991 — Santa Monica, California
Father: Miles Dewey Davis Jr. (Dentist)
Mother: Cleota Mae Henry (Music Teacher / Violinist)
Sister: Dorothy Mae (b.1925)
Brother: Vernon (b.1929)

“TuTu”
Miles Davis (w/ Marcus Miller)
w/ Lenny White (J-Boys)

((play))

— vg

1989
The Last Word — An on, off, and on again retrospective of Miles’ work in the 1980s. A decade in which Miles, reminiscent of Bitches Brew, recruited a number of young musicians who follow Miles wherever his musical whim takes them.

Living Colour —  A Modern Fusion

Night Music
House Band (1988-1990)
w/ David Sanborn (sax)
Hiram Bullock (guitar)
Marcus Miller (bass)
Omar Hakim (drums)
Philippe Saisse (keys)
Jools Holland (piano)

Late Night
With David Letterman (1982-1993)
w/ Paul Shaffer (keyboards)

1989The World’s Most Dangerous Band

Miles Davis & Chaka Khan (Montreux Jazz Festival)

The Roots w/ Jimmy Fallon

1969
In A Silent Way
Miles Davis – trumpet
John McLaughlin – guitar
Wayne Shorter – soprano saxophone
Herbie Hancock – electric piano
Joe Zawinul – electric piano, organ
Chick Corea – electric piano
Dave Holland – bass
Tony Williams – drums

 

Miles Runs The Voodoo Down
b/ Miles Davis (Bitches Brew)

((play))

Bitches Brew / Electric Ladyland

Despite being all instrumental, Bitches Brew is sited as one of  the most influential recording by Living Colour vocalist, Corey Glover.

Bitches Brew (1970)
Miles Davis – trumpet (Marcus Miller)
John McLaughlin – guitar (Mahavishnu Orchestra) Greg Bendian
Wayne Shorter – soprano saxophone (Weather Report) Will Calhoun
Bennie Maupinbass clarinet
Joe Zawinul – electric piano (Weather Report)
Chick Corea – electric piano (Return to Forever)
Larry Young – electric piano
Dave Holland – double bass, bass guitar
Harvey Brooks – bass guitar
Lenny White – drums (Return to Forever)
Jack DeJohnette – drums (“Play the room” w/Will Calhoun)
Billy Cobham – drums (Frank Zappa, Tommy Bolin)
Airto Moreira – percussion
Don Alias – congas, drums
Juma Santos (credited as “Jim Riley”) – shaker, congas, percussion
Teo Macero – producer
Mati Klarwein – cover painting

 

1971 A Tribute to Jack Johnson (The Complete Sessions)

After a five-year retirement due to poor health, Davis resumed his career in the 1980s, employing younger musicians and pop sounds on albums such as

The Importance of  The Electric Guitar
Lenny White credits John McLaughlin with the creation.

“Without John’s guitar, there would be no music called Fusion.”

Lenny White talking about John McLaughlin

Miles Davis invites Lenny to play on Bitches Brew.
TeacNYU Music Studies

Miles Davis’ Guitarists
Pete Cosey
Robben Ford
Mike Stern
Vernon (w/ Lenny for Miles Davis documentary)
Bill Connors
Earl Klugh

And then came Al Di Meola
Berklee student, 19, called by Chick Corea to join Return To Forever)
One week later, his first professional gig at Carnegie Hall
Most memorable stage experience: though
Onstage with Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John, and Oriana, his 7-year-old daughter, after the ending jam of “Pavarotti & Friends,” where he had performed with John McLaughlin and Paco DeLucia.

Paco de Lucía, Al Di Meola & John McLaughlin
Pavarotti & Friends 1996 – Jun 8, 1996

 

 Friday Night In San Francisco (1980)

 

Jimi Hendrix
Electric Ladyland
Band Of Gypsys @ Fillmore East

Buddy Miles (Electric Flag / Mike Bloomfield / Carlos Santana)
Billy Cox

Ladell McLin
w/ Billy Cox
Great Night In Harlem (2002)
“Universe” w/ Vernon Reid
Vernon Reid
Band of Gypsys Revisited
Eye & I

Frank Zappa
Hot Rats
Ian Underwood — piano
Captain Beefheart (Willie The Pimp)
Max Bennett — bass
Shuggie Otis — bass (regalia) “Strawberry Letter 23”
Jean-Luc Ponty — violin
Lowell George — rhythm guitar (uncredited) Little Feat
Ron Selico – drums
Paul Hump
Don “Sugarcane” Harris
George Duke
Terry Bozzio
Michael Brecker
(Brothers) Metal Be-Bop

Jack Bruce — Apostrophe 1974 w/Vernon
Vinnie Colaiuta — drums
Don Ellis
Roy Estrada — bass (founding member of Little Feat)
John Lennon — Playground Psychotics

Earl Slick — (guitar Double Fantasy)
Linda Ronstadt
Archie Shepp — 1991
Sting — Broadway The Hard Way
Tina Turner
Steve Vai
Chad Wackerman — drums
Johnny “Guitar” Watson
Apostrophe (‘)
Roxy & Elsewhere (with the Mothers Of Invention)
One Size Fits All (with The Mothers of Invention)
Zoot Allures
Zappa in New York
Joe’s Garage
Anyway the Wind Blows

Herbie Hancock
Headhunters

Larry Coryell
Eleventh House
Alphonse Mouzon
Gary Burton

 

The Holy Trinity
The Mahavishnu Orchestra

Billy Cobham

Jan Hammer

Rick Laird

Jerry Goodman

Return to Forever
Weather Report

Fusion is not (fusion) jazz
but a “fusion” of Rock N Roll and Jazz music.
THE COLLISION
Miles Davis vs. Jeff Beck
Bitches Brew / Blow by Blow

Miles Davis
Tony Williams
Bitches Brew
John McLaughlin
The Holy Trinity
Mahavishnu Orchestra
Return To Forever

Stanley Clarke

Weather Report
Herbie Hancock (Head Hunters)
Frank Zappa
Jimi Hendrix
Jeff Beck
Carlos Santana (Caravanserai)
Larry Coryell (11th House)
Tommy Bolin
Jimmy Haslip

Robben Ford

Vinny Colaiuta
Steve Khan
Larry Carlton
Lee Ritenour (Pink FloydRun Like HellThe Wall)

Al Di Meola (w/Ritenour)  @ Adrienne Arsht Center  for The Performing Arts
Al’s Father
Gonzalo Rubalcaba (w/Al [Criteria] “Strawberry Fields”
Anthony Jackson (only one I ever heard talk back)

Vernon Reid

In a Silent Way (1969) was recorded in a single studio session on February 18, 1969, with
Wayne Shorter
Herbie Hancock
Dave Holland
Tony Williams
w/
Chick Corea (keyboards)
Josef Zawinul (keyboards)
John McLaughlin. (guitar)
The album contains two side-long tracks that Macero pieced together from different takes recorded at the session.
When the album was released in July 1969, some critics accused him of “selling out” to the rock and roll audience.
It reached number 134 on the US Billboard Top LPs chart, his first album since My Funny Valentine to reach the chart.

In a Silent Way was his entry into fusion.

The touring band (1969–1970), with Shorter, Corea, Holland, and DeJohnette, never completed a studio recording together, and became known as Davis’s “lost quintet”

In October 1969, Davis was shot at five times while in his car with one of his two lovers, Marguerite Eskridge.

The incident left him with a graze and Eskridge unharmed.

In 1970, Marguerite gave birth to their son Erin.

For the double album Bitches Brew (1970), he hired

Jack DeJohnette

Airto Moreira

Bennie Maupin.

The album contained long compositions, some over twenty minutes, that were never played in the studio but were constructed from several takes by Macero and Davis.

Other studio techniques included splicing, multitrack recording, and tape loops.

Bitches Brew peaked at No. 35 on the
In March 1970, Davis began to perform as the opening act for various rock acts, allowing Columbia to market Bitches Brew to a larger audience. He was so offended by Clive Davis’s suggestion to perform at the Fillmore East that he threatened to switch record labels, but he reconsidered and shared a bill with the Steve Miller Band and Neil Young with Crazy Horse on March 6 and 7. Biographer Paul Tingen wrote, “Miles’ newcomer status in this environment” led to “mixed audience reactions, often having to play for dramatically reduced fees, and enduring the ‘sell-out’ accusations from the jazz world,” as well as being “…attacked by sections of the black press for supposedly genuflecting to white culture.”[140] The 1970 tours included the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival on August 29 when he performed to an estimated 600,000 people, the largest of his career. Plans to record with Hendrix ended after the guitarist’s death; his funeral was the last that Davis attended. Several live albums with a transitional sextet/septet including Corea, DeJohnette, Holland, Moreira, saxophonist Steve Grossman, and keyboardist Keith Jarrett were recorded during this period, includingMiles Davis at Fillmore (1970) and Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Fillmore West (1973).

 

Davis’ septet in November 1971; left to right: Gary Bartz, Davis, Keith Jarrett, Michael Henderson, Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, James Mtume, and Don Alias

By 1971, Davis had signed a contract with Columbia that paid him $100,000 a year (US$631,306 in 2019 dollars) for three years in addition to royalties. He recorded a soundtrack album (1971) Jack Johnson) for the 1970 documentary film about heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, containing two long pieces of 25 and 26 minutes in length with Hancock, McLaughlin, Sonny Sharrock, and Billy Cobham. He was committed to making music for African-Americans who liked more commercial, pop, groove-oriented music. By November 1971, DeJohnette and Moreira had been replaced in the touring ensemble by drummer Leon “Ndugu” Chancler and percussionists James Mtume and Don Alias.

1971 Live-Evil Showcasing former Stevie Wonder touring bassist Michael Henderson, who replaced Holland in the autumn of 1970, the album demonstrated that Davis’s ensemble had become more funk-oriented, while retaining the exploratory quality of Bitches Brew.

1972 composer-arranger Paul Buckmaster introduced Davis to the music of German avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, leading to a period of creative exploration. Biographer J. K. Chambers wrote, “The effect of Davis’ study of Stockhausen could not be repressed for long … Davis’ own ‘space music’ shows Stockhausen’s influence compositionally.”[145] His recordings and performances during this period were described as “space music” by fans, Feather, and Buckmaster, who described it as “a lot of mood changes—heavy, dark, intense—definitely space music.” The studio album On the Corner (1972) blended the influence of Stockhausen and Buckmaster with funk elements. Davis invited Buckmaster to New York City to oversee the writing and recording of the album with Macero. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard jazz chart but peaked at No. 156 on the more heterogeneous Top 200 Albums chart. On the Corner elicited a favorable review from Ralph J. Gleason of Rolling Stone, but Davis felt that Columbia marketed it to the wrong audience. “The music was meant to be heard by young black people, but they just treated it like any other jazz album and advertised it that way, pushed it on the jazz radio stations. Young black kids don’t listen to those stations; they listen to R&B stations and some rock stations.” In October 1972, he broke his ankles in a car crash. He took painkillers and cocaine to cope with the pain. Looking back at his career after the incident, he wrote, “Everything started to blur.”

This was music that polarized audiences, provoking boos and walk-outs amid the ecstasy of others. The length, density, and unforgiving nature of it mocked those who said that Miles was interested only in being trendy and popular. Some have heard in this music the feel and shape of a musician’s late work, an egoless music that precedes its creator’s death. As Theodor Adorno said of the late Beethoven, the disappearance of the musician into the work is a bow to mortality. It was as if Miles were testifying to all that he had been witness to for the past thirty years, both terrifying and joyful.

John Szwed on Agharta (1975) andPangaea (1976)
After recording On the Corner, he assembled a group with Henderson, Mtume, Carlos Garnett, guitarist Reggie Lucas, organistLonnie Liston Smith, tabla player Badal Roy, sitarist Khalil Balakrishna, and drummer Al Foster. Only Smith was a jazz instrumentalist; consequently, the music emphasized rhythmic density and shifting textures instead of solos. This group was recorded live for In Concert (1973), but Davis found it unsatisfactory, leading him to drop the tabla and sitar and play keyboards. He also added guitarist Pete Cosey. The compilation studio album
Big Fun (1974) contains four long improvisations recorded between 1969 and 1972.
Studio activity in the 1970s culminated in sessions throughout 1973 and 1974 for
Get Up with It (1974), a compilation that included four long pieces (comprising over ninety minutes of new music) alongside four shorter recordings from 1970 and 1972. The album contained “He Loved Him Madly”, a thirty-minute tribute to the recently deceased Duke Ellington that presaged later developments in ambient music. In the United States, it performed comparably to On the Corner, reaching number 8 on the jazz chart and number 141 on the pop chart. He then concentrated on live performance with a series of concerts that Columbia released on the double live albums
Agharta (1975)
Pangaea (1976)
Dark Magus (1977).
The first two are recordings of two sets from February 1, 1975 in Osaka, by which time Davis was troubled by pneumonia, osteoarthritis, sickle-cell anemia, depression, bursitis, and stomach ulcers; he relied on alcohol, codeine, and morphine to get through the engagements.
His shows were routinely panned by critics who mentioned his habit of performing with his back to the audience. Cosey later asserted that “the band really advanced after the Japanese tour,” but Davis was again hospitalized during a US tour, opening for Herbie Hancock.
Hancock had eclipsed his former employer from a commercial standpoint with
Head Hunters (1973)
Thrust (1974)
two albums that were marketed to pop audiences in the aftermath of the On the Corner farrago and peaked at number 13 on the Billboard pop chart.
After appearances at the 1975 Newport Jazz Festival in July and the Schaefer Music Festival in New York City on September 5, Davis dropped out of music.

FIVE-YEAR HIATUS 1975-1980

In his autobiography, Davis wrote frankly about his life during his hiatus from music. He called his Upper West Side brownstone a wreck and chronicled his heavy use of alcohol and cocaine, in addition to his sexual encounters with many women. In December 1975, he had regained enough strength to undergo a much needed hip replacement operation. In March 1976, Rolling Stone reported rumors of his imminent demise, citing his health problems during the previous tour. In December 1976, Columbia was reluctant to renew his contract and pay his usual large advances. But after his lawyer started negotiating with United Artists, Columbia matched their offer, establishing the Miles Davis Fund to pay him regularly. Pianist Vladimir Horowitz was the only other musician with Columbia that had a similar status.

1978 Julie Coryell interviewed Davis. Concerned about his health, she had him stay with a friend in Norwalk, Connecticut. Davis asked Coryell’s husband, guitarist Larry Coryell, to participate in sessions with keyboardists Masabumi Kikuchi and George Pavlis, bassist T. M. Stevens, and drummer Al Foster. Davis played the arranged piece uptempo, abandoned his trumpet for the organ, and had Macero record the session without the band’s knowledge.

After Coryell declined a spot in a band that Davis was beginning to put together, Davis returned to his reclusive lifestyle in New York City. Soon after, Marguerite Eskridge had Davis jailed for failing to pay child support to their son Erin, which cost him $10,000 ($40,000 today) for release on bail.

A recording session with Buckmaster and Gil Evans ended when Evans left after failing to be paid.

Davis hired a new manager, Mark Rothbaum, who had worked with him since 1972. Despite the dearth of new material, Davis placed in the Top 10 trumpeter poll of Down Beat magazine in 1979.

1981 The Man with the Horn

 

Tutu (1986)
Critics were generally unreceptive but the decade garnered the trumpeter his highest level of commercial recognition. He performed sold-out concerts worldwide while branching out into visual arts, film, and television work, before his death in 1991.

The Last Word Unreleased Collection of his latest (final) recordings
2006 — Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, recognized as “one of the key figures in the history of jazz.” Rolling Stone described him as “the most revered jazz trumpeter of all time, not to mention one of the most important musicians of the 20th century,” while Gerald Early called him inarguably one of the most influential and innovative musicians of that period.

2009 — Jeff Beck Hall Of Fame Induction
Beck’s Bolero
Immigrant Song
Secret Agent Man
Train Kept’ A Rollin’ w/ Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)

 

 

2000
Black Jack Johnson
Mos Def / New York City
w/ Bernie Worrell (keyboards) Funkadelic
w/ Dr. Know (guitar) Bad Brains
w/ Will Calhoun (drums) Living Colour
w/ Doug Wimbish (bass guitar) Living Colour

 

— HBO (REVERB)

Mos Def / Talib Kweli (Black Star)
Black Jack Johnson — New York City @ The Bowery Ballroom ((video))

Living Colour Fusion (1988)

A Skinny, Little, Rich, (Black) Kid
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Miles was the second of three children of Cleota Mae Henry, a music teacher, and Miles Dewey Davis Jr., a well-to-do dentist. The Davis family lived on a 200-acre estate, whose land included a profitable pig farm, one of the largest producers of pork in Pine Bluff. Miles, with his brother and sister, spent many days fishing, hunting, and riding horses on the grounds, that were complete with their own private, tree-shaded swimming hole. Idyllic? Except for being black in Jim Crow Southern Illinois, and having a father who was violent, mean, and an abusive man. When Miles’ mother said it might be better if he play the violin rather than the trumpet, his father was angered, and he watched as he punched his mother in the face. Miles never played the violin.

A Childhood To Survive, More Than Enjoy
To escape the anger and violence that filled his everyday life, Miles became more introverted, and payed more (all) his attention to listening to the sounds around him. Everything, the wind in the trees, horns in the city, and his father’s record collection, his one positive contribution to the otherwise hostile environment. Young Miles liked it all — jazz, blues, big band, gospel … And he found particular inspiration in a pianist named Mary Lou Williams.

Mary Lou Williams
born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs
(May 8, 1910 – May 28, 1981)
American pianist, arranger, and composer.
Wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements
and recorded more than one hundred (78, 45, and LP versions)

friend, mentor, and teacher to:
Thelonious Monk (piano)
Charlie Parker (saxophone)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Bud Powell (piano)
Art Blakey (drums)
Dexter Gordon (saxophone)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Sonny Rollins (saxophone)
Tadd Dameron (piano/arranger)
John Coltrane (saxophone)

 

Miles Davis / East St. Louis, Missouri
1932-1934 — Attended (All-Black) John Robinson Elementary, and later, Crispus Attucks (school), where he excelled in sports, mathematics, and music.
Miles couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t surrounded by music, or a time he didn’t enjoy it … especially the blues, big bands, and gospel.
19359-year-old Miles receives his first trumpet, a gift from John Eubanks, a friend of his father.

Miles studies with Elwood Buchanan, a musician, teacher, and dental patient of Miles’ father.

Miles’ mother wanted him to play the violin. Not the trumpet.
Buchanan, against the day’s fashion, stressed the importance of playing without vibrato and encouraged Miles to use a clear, mid-range tone. Later, Davis said that whenever he started playing vibrato, Buchanan would rap his knuckles. Davis said later …

“I prefer a round sound with no attitude in it, like a voice with not too much tremolo and not too much bass — Just right — in the middle. If I can’t get that sound I can’t play anything.” Miles Davis

 

HDRtist HDR Rendering - http://www.ohanaware.com/hdrtist/

Allan Harris and Doug Wimbish — bringing the American story to musical life, and playing their educational part in the fight for Truth in America.

 

1939

(Billie Holiday by William P. Gottlieb)

Billie Holiday

The song (“Strange Fruit“) was written by Abel Meeropol, a white, Jewish school teacher in the Bronx, New York (1939). At first Holiday was uncomfortable singing the song, the lyrics being so sad and horrific. From the beginning and until the end of her career, Holiday wept every time she sang the song.

Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. The photograph (above) is from a collection of James E. Allen, an Atlanta antique dealer, and John Littlefield, a software engineer. The collection had been on loan to the Special Collections Department of Emory University.

 

The Story Of A Song.
“STRANGE FRUIT” / TRICKY REMIX (VERVE) 2002

 

[Mae West]
December 12, 1937 — West appeared in two separate sketches on ventriloquist Edgar Bergen‘s radio show The Chase and Sanborn Hour. By the second half of the 1930s, West’s popularity was affected by her dialogue being severely censored. She went on the show eager to promote her latest movie, Every Day’s a Holiday. Appearing as herself, West flirted with Charlie McCarthy, Bergen’s dummy, using her usual brand of wit and risqué sexual references. West referred to Charlie as “all wood and a yard long” and commented, “Charles, I remember our last date, and have the splinters to prove it!”[69] West was on the verge of being banned from radio.

More outrageous still was a sketch written by Arch Oboler, starring Don Ameche and West as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on NBC. She told Ameche in the show to “get me a big one… I feel like doin’ a big apple!” This ostensible reference to the then-current dance craze was one of the many double entendres in the dialogue. Days after the broadcast, the studio received letters calling the show “immoral” and “obscene” by societies for the protection of morals. Several conservative women’s clubs and religious groups admonished the show’s sponsor, Chase & Sanborn Coffee Company, for “prostituting” their services for allowing “impurity [to] invade the air”.

Under pressure, the Federal Communications Commission later deemed the broadcast “vulgar and indecent” and “far below even the minimum standard which should control in the selection and production of broadcast programs”. Some debate existed regarding the reaction to the skit. Conservative religious groups took umbrage far more swiftly than the mainstream. These groups found it easy to make West their target. They took exception to her outspoken use of sexuality and sexual imagery, which she had employed in her career since at least the Pre-Code films of the early 1930s and for decades before on Broadway, but which was now being broadcast into American living rooms on a popular family-friendly radio program. The groups reportedly warned the sponsor of the program they would protest her appearance.

NBC Radio scapegoated West for the incident and banned her (and the mention of her name) from their stations. They claimed it was not the content of the skit, but West’s tonal inflections that gave it the controversial context, acting as though they had hired West knowing nothing of her previous work, nor had any idea of how she would deliver the lines written for her by Oboler. West would not perform in radio for a dozen years, until January 1950, in an episode of The Chesterfield Supper Club, which was hosted by Perry Como. Ameche’s career did not suffer any serious repercussions, however, as he was playing the “straight” guy. Nonetheless, Mae West went on to enjoy a record-breaking success in Las Vegas, swank nightclubs such as Lou Walters’s The Latin Quarter, Broadway, and London.

1944 Immediately exhibiting extraordinary talent, Miles moves to New York City to attend Juilliard (The Institute of Musical Arts).
Not enjoying the academic environment, he drops out after only three semesters to join Charlie Parker‘s Quintet. He spends the next four years with Parker.

..

The Meaning
of cool.

1949 Birth of the Cool (sessions)
Returning from Paris in mid-1949
Miles is depressed and finds little work — including a short engagement (October) with Bud Powell in October and sitting in with a number of artists playing in New York City, Chicago, and Detroit until January 1950.
Miles was 23 years old and his heroin addiction became expensive, financially, physically, and psychologically.

“I lost my sense of discipline,” Miles said later. “Lost my sense of control over my life, and started to drift.”

He fell behind in the rent he owed for the New York hotel room he was living in, and their were imes (more than one) when attempts were made to reposses his car.
1950 In an attempt to improve their fortune, Miles took a family (Summer) trip home to East St. Louis and Chicago, during which, Cawthon gave birth to Davis’s second son, Miles IV.
Later that year, Miles befriends boxer Johnny Bratton and began his interest in the sport (BOXING).
Continuing to tour, Davis left Cawthon and his three children in New York City with friend and jazz singer Betty Carter.
He remained grateful to her for the rest of his life.
While on tour with Billy Eckstine and Billie Holiday,
Miles was arrested for heroin possession in Los Angeles.
The story was reported in DownBeat magazine, which caused a further reduction in work, though he was acquitted weeks later.
Records some of the earliest hard bop music (Prestige Records).
(“Heroin” b/ James Brown)

December 15 — Opening night at Birdland, the New York club named in honor of Charlie Parker.
From left: Max Kaminsky, Lester Young, Lips Page, Charlie Parker, and Lennie Tristano.

1955 Newport Jazz Festival (Re-Birth) Performance
Signs with Columbia Records
1957 ‘Round About Midnight
first work with:
John Coltrane (Saxophone)
Paul Chambers (Bass)
Both remained in Miles’ Sextet into the 1960s
1958 Elevator To The Gallows (improvised soundtrack)
Louis Malle’s French Crime Noir
1958 Milestones
1959 Kind of Blue
March 2 and April 22, 1959, at

Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City, and

released August 17 by Columbia Records.
The album features Davis’s ensemble sextet consisting of:
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (saxophone)
Bill Evans (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)with new band pianist
Wynton Kelly (new band pianist) playing on one track in place of Evans.
In part owing to Evans’ joining the sextet during 1958, Davis followed up on the modal experimentation of Milestones by basing Kind of Blue entirely on modality, departing further from his earlier work’s hard bop style of jazz.

Kind of Blue has been regarded by many critics as the greatest jazz record, Davis’s masterpiece, and one of the best albums of all time. Its influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical genres, has led writers to also deem it one of the most influential albums ever recorded. The album was one of fifty recordings chosen in 2002 by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry, and in 2003 it was ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was voted number 14 in Colin Larkin‘s All Time Top 1000 Albums.

Though precise figures have been disputed, Kind Of Blue is often cited as the best-selling jazz record of all time. In 2019, it was certified Quintuple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of over five million copies.

(Remains one of the most popular Jazz recordings, four-million copies sold)

1958 Elevator To The Gallows
(improvised soundtrack) for Louis Malle’s French Crime Noir.
Orchestral Jazz collaborations with arranger Gil Evans

1959
Porgy and Bess (“Summertime”)
Columbia Records

1960 Sketches of Spain
1961 Davis made several line-up changes while recording
Someday My Prince Will Come
The Blackhawk Concerts
1963 Seven Steps to Heaven
Mainstream success w/ that introduced bassist
Ron Carter (Bass)
Herbie Hancock (Piano)
Tony Williams (Drums)
1964 Miles leads the new Quintet on a series of more abstract recordings, many of the compositions written by the young band members.
1965 E.S.P
1967 Miles Smiles
These two albums have been credited with having fueled the creation of the Post-Bop genre, and had started laying the foundation of what’s since been called Miles’ Electric Period.
1968 Miles married 23-year-old model and songwriter Betty Mabry.
In his autobiography, Davis described her as a “high-class groupie, who was very talented but who didn’t believe in her own talent.”
Mabry, a familiar face in the New York City counterculture, helped introduce Davis to popular rock, soul, and funk musicians. Jazz critic Leonard Feather visited Davis’s apartment and was shocked to find him listening to albums by:
The Byrds
Aretha Franklin
Dionne Warwick. (Vernon Reid)
He also liked:
James Brown
Sly and the Family Stone
Jimi Hendrix

Band of Gypsys, specifically, made an impression on Miles.
Later, Miles accused his wife, Betty Davis, of having an affair with Hendrix, and filed for divorce in 1969.

1969

Jimi Hendrix
Electric Ladyland
Band Of Gypsys
Apollo 11
Woodstock

The Collision Cometh

Frank Zappa
Hot Rats
Ian Underwood — piano
Captain Beefheart (Willie The Pimp)
Max Bennett — bass
Shuggie Otis — bass (regalia) “Strawberry Letter 23”
Jean-Luc Ponty — violin
Lowell George — rhythm guitar (uncredited) Little Feat
Ron Selico – drums
Paul Hump
Don “Sugarcane” Harris
George Duke
Terry Bozzio
Michael Brecker

Jack Bruce — Apostrophe 1974
Vinnie Colaiuta — drums
Don Ellis
Roy Estrada — bass (founding member of Little Feat)
John Lennon — Playground Psychotics
Linda Ronstadt
Archie Shepp — 1991
Sting — Broadway The Hard Way
Tina Turner
Steve Vai
Chad Wackerman — drums
Johnny “Guitar” Watson
Apostrophe (‘)
Roxy & Elsewhere (with the Mothers Of Invention)
One Size Fits All (with The Mothers of Invention)
Zoot Allures
Zappa in New York
Joe’s Garage
Anyway the Wind Blows

Herbie Hancock
Headhunters

Larry Coryell
Eleventh House
Alphonse Mouzon
Gary Burton

Davis and Cicely Tyson in 1982

1979 Miles gets back together with actress Cicely Tyson,
who helped him overcome his cocaine addiction and regain his enthusiasm for music.
The two married on November 26, 1981, in a ceremony at Bill Cosby‘s home in Massachusetts that was
officiated by politician and civil rights activist Andrew Young.
Tyson filed for divorce in 1988 (finalized in 1989).
In October 1979, his contract with Columbia was up for negotiation.
Label president Clive Davis was replaced by George Butler,
who had visited Davis several times during the previous two years to encourage him to return to the studio.
To help his situation, Davis had Buckmaster come over to collaborate on new music. After arriving, Buckmaster organized an intervention for Davis, who was living in squalor among cockroach infestations, in the dark with his curtains always closed. His sister Dorothy cleaned his house with help from Buckmaster, Tyson, and neighbor Chaka Khan. Davis later thanked Buckmaster for helping him.

1980–1985: Comeback[edit]

Davis hadn’t played the trumpet much for three years and found it difficult to reclaim his embouchure. His first post-hiatus studio appearance took place on May 1, 1980. A day later, Davis was hospitalized due to a leg infection. He recorded The Man with the Horn (1981) from June 1980 to May 1981 with Macero producing. A large band was abandoned in favor of a combo with saxophonist Bill Evans (not to be confused with pianist Bill Evans) and bassist Marcus Miller. Both would collaborate with him during the next decade.
The Man with the Horn received a poor critical reception despite selling well. In June 1981, Davis returned to the stage for the first time since 1975 in a ten-minute guest solo as part of Mel Lewis‘s band at the Village Vanguard. This was followed by appearances with a new band, a four-night run at Kix in Boston, and two shows at Avery Fisher Hall on July 5 as part of the Kool Jazz Festival. Recordings from a mixture of dates from 1981, including the Kix and Avery Fisher Hall gigs, were released on We Want Miles(1982), which earned him a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by a Soloist.

In January 1982, while Tyson was working in Africa, Davis “went a little wild” with alcohol, and suffered a stroke that temporarily paralyzed his right hand. Tyson returned home and cared for him. After three months of treatment with a Chinese acupuncturist, he was able to play the trumpet again. He listened to his doctor’s warnings and gave up alcohol and drugs. He credited Tyson with helping his recovery, which involved exercise, piano playing, and visits to spas. She encouraged him to draw, which he pursued for the rest of his life.
Davis resumed touring in May 1982 with a line-up that included French percussionist Mino Cinelu and guitarist John Scofield, with whom he worked closely on the album Star People (1983). In mid-1983, he worked on the tracks for Decoy, an album mixing soul music and electronica that was released in 1984. He brought in producer, composer, and keyboardist Robert Irving III, who had collaborated with him on The Man with the Horn. With a seven-piece band that included Scofield, Evans, Irving, Foster, and Darryl Jones, he played a series of European performances that were positively received. In December 1984, while in Denmark, he was awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize. Trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg had written a contemporary classical piece titled “Aura” for the event which impressed Davis to the point of returning to Denmark in early 1985 to record his next studio album, Aura (1989). Columbia was dissatisfied with the recording and delayed its release.
In May 1985, one month into a tour, Davis signed a contract with Warner Bros. that required him to give up his publishing rights. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis publicly dismissed his more recent fusion recordings as not being “‘true’ jazz.” Davis shrugged off the comment, calling Marsalis “a nice young man, only confused.” Marsalis appeared unannounced onstage during Davis’ performance at the inaugural Vancouver International Jazz Festival in 1986. Marsalis whispered into Davis’ ear that “someone” had told him to do so. Davis responded by ordering him off the stage. Davis had become increasingly irritated at Columbia’s delay in releasing Aura. The breaking point appears to have come when a producer at Columbia asked him to call Marsalis and wish him a happy birthday. The tour in 1985 included a performance in London in July in which Davis performed on stage for five hours. Jazz critic John Fordham concluded, “The leader is clearly enjoying himself.” By 1985, Davis was diabetic and required daily injections of insulin.
He released You’re Under Arrest, his final album for Columbia, in September 1985. It included cover versions of two pop songs: “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper and “Human Nature” sung by Michael Jackson. He considered releasing an album of pop songs, and he recorded dozens of them, but the idea was rejected. He said that many of today’s jazz standards had been pop songs in Broadway theater and that he was simply updating the standards repertoire.
Davis collaborated with a number of figures from the British post-punk and new wave movements during this period, including Scritti Politti. At the invitation of producer Bill Laswell, he recorded some trumpet parts during sessions for Public Image Ltd.’s Album, according to John Lydon in the liner notes of their Plastic Box box set. In Lydon’s words, however, “Strangely enough, we didn’t use [his contributions].” According to Lydon in the Plastic Box notes, Davis favorably compared Lydon’s singing voice to his trumpet sound during these sessions.

1986–1991: THIS IS THE END

Davis performing in Strasbourg, 1987

After taking part in the recording of the 1985 protest song “Sun City” as a member of Artists United Against Apartheid, Davis appeared on the instrumental “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Toto for their album Fahrenheit (1986). Davis intended to collaborate with Prince, but the project was dropped. Davis also collaborated with Zane Giles and Randy Hall on the Rubberband sessions in 1985 but those would remain unreleased until 2019. Instead, he worked with Marcus Miller and Tutu (1986), became the first time he used modern studio tools such as programmed synthesizers, sampling, and drum loops. Released in September 1986, its front cover is a portrait of Davis by Irving Penn. In 1987, he won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist.

In 1988, Davis had a small part as a street musician in the Christmas comedy film Scrooged starring Bill Murray. He also collaborated withZucchero Fornaciari in a version of Dune Mosse (Blue’s), published in 2004 in Zu & Co. of the Italian bluesman. In November 1988, he was inducted into the Knights of Malta at a ceremony at the Alhambra Palace in Spain (hence the “Sir” title on his gravestone). Later that month, Davis cut his European tour short after he collapsed and fainted after a two-hour show in Madrid and flew home. Rumors of his health were made public after the American magazine Star, in its February 21, 1989 edition, published that Davis had contracted AIDS, prompting his manager Peter Shukat to issue a statement the following day to deny the claim. Shukat revealed Davis had been in the hospital for a mild case of pneumonia and the removal of a benign polyp on his vocal cords and was resting comfortably in preparation for his 1989 tours. Davis later blamed one of his former wives or girlfriends for starting the rumor and decided against taking legal action. He was interviewed on 60 Minutesby Harry Reasoner. In October 1989, he received a Grande Medaille de Vermeil from Paris mayor Jacques Chirac. In 1990, he received aGrammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In early 1991, he appeared in the Rolf de Heer film Dingo as a jazz musician.

Davis followed Tutu with Amandla (1989) and soundtracks to four films: Street Smart, Siesta, The Hot Spot, and Dingo. His last albums were released posthumously: the hip hop-influenced Doo-Bop (1992) and Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux (1993), a collaboration with Quincy Jones from the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival where, for the first time in three decades, he performed songs from Miles Ahead,Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain.

On July 8, 1991, Davis returned to performing material from his past at the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival with a band and orchestra conducted by Quincy Jones. The set consisted of arrangements from his albums recorded with Gil Evans. The show was followed by a concert billed as “Miles and Friends” at the Grande halle de la Villette in Paris two days later, with guest performances by musicians from throughout his career, including John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, and Joe Zawinul. In Paris, he was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. After returning to America, he stopped in New York City to record material for Doo-Bop, then returned to California to play at the Hollywood Bowl on August 25, his final live performance.

2000
Black Jack Johnson
Mos Def / New York City
w/ Bernie Worrell (keyboards) Funkadelic
w/ Dr. Know (guitar) Bad Brains
w/ Will Calhoun (drums) Living Colour
w/ Doug Wimbish (bass guitar) Living Colour

 

w/ Talib Kweli

 

The Longest Day

(June 6, 1944)