Miles Davis (Oil on Panel by Hyatt Moore, 2008)
Born on May 26th 1926, Miles Davis often claimed in his raspy voice, “I changed jazz five or six times”. He was, as a youngster, at the epicentre of the ‘Be-Bop’ movement led by the likes of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
But putting his thesis to the test we can admit that his Birth of the Cool album created a new pathway in jazz as did his orchestral collaborations with Gil Evans on Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain. Then, of course, came his excursions in modal jazz exemplified by the hugely influential Kind of Blue.
Kind of Blue was performed with his first great quintet, which included luminaries such as John Coltrane and ‘Canonball’ Adderley. And his second great quintet which featured the likes of Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock also took jazz music to unparalleled heights with albums such as E.S.P., Miles Smiles, Sorcerer and Files De Kilimanjaro.
This was followed by his controversial immersion in jazz-rock fusion, which created new directions in jazz and popular music.
It’s a suitable day to build around the music of Miles Davis. Just for a day. Maybe tomorrow too.
Listening to Miles’s music is a life-long passion.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.