“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” Miles Davis
Miles Davis (1926-1991) is one of the world’s most iconic, influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz, 20th century music and beyond. During his five-decade career as trumpeter, bandleader and composer, he was a prime mover and trendsetter in the evolution of jazz as an art form. Davis recorded a number of classic albums on Prestige Records between 1951 and 1961, including his debut as a bandleader, The New Sounds (1951), which also introduced Miles as composer of future bebop jazz standard “Dig”, a composition that has been recorded by numerous other jazz artists including Sonny Rollins, Archie Shepp and Donald Byrd. Miles’ next album Blue Period (1953) featured “Out Of The Blue” and “Bluing”, both of which were recorded during the making of The New Sounds album and reappeared on the 1956 album Dig along with the title track itself. In 1954 came the Miles Davis Quartet album, which featured “Tune Up”, “Smooch”, “Miles Ahead” and jazz standards “Four” and “Blue Haze”. The Musings Of Miles album (1955) featured yet another Davis standard “Green Haze”. What followed in 1956 for Davis was a busy year of recordings and releases including Miles Davis And Horns, which featured the composition “Down”, and Collectors’ Items, which featured the “The Serpent’s Tooth” and “Compulsion”. It was on the 1957 album Walkin’ that one of Davis’ greatest compositions, modern jazz standard “Solar” first appeared. Covered by dozens of jazz greats including Bill Evans, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, the first two bars of “Solar” adorn Davis’ tombstone. Always an explorer of unknown musical paths, Davis the composer was a creature of innate intellect, primal instinct and improvisational perfection.