Notes from the Miles-verse Parts 1 and 2

Wherein I’m listening to Miles Davis’ studio albums in chronological order. Priors: I have listened to Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew a lot. I’m mostly familiar with “earl years” sort of stuff.

Basically bop

  • Collector’s Item: this album starts to sound “Idiomatically Miles Davis”. Which I guess means “rather abstract bop-vibe”.
  • Bag’s Groove: this is very hip.
  • Cookin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet: I’ll take basically any version of “My Funny Valentine”, same as I will listen to any version of “Caravan”.

The albums Davis made with Gil Evans are my early new-favorites. Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain all sound more lofty, less improvised than the earlier stuff. Almost composed, classical music, not unlike some of Mingus’ work.

Very much not bop

Getting into Davis’ fusion era (1968–1991) is my big discovery. I know Bitches Brew is a thing, but where it fits chronologically is the missing piece. Davis entirely switching gears from bop to an entirely different vibe must have been as jarring as Rite of Spring was to Parisans. Favorites so far: Filles De Kilimanjaro, A Tribute to Jack Johnson, On the Corner. In a Silent Way is entirely different from the albums around it in this era, but I like how it’s basically a long song.

Currently listening: Circle in the Round.

Previously: Into the Miles-verse.

Adam Keys @therealadam