Amoeblog


Amoeba Music Celebrates Birthdate of Late Legendary, Influential Jazz Artist Miles Davis With 20% Storewide Sale

Posted by Billyjam, May 26, 2017 12:38pm | Post a Comment
Miles Davis' 1959 Kind of Blue (also on LP/vinyl) is a landmark album not just for jazz, but all music

"If you only get to own two Miles Davis albums? Hmmm: that's a hard one because he has so many essential collectables. I mean he's the greatest. But if only two Miles albums then I would have to narrow it down to Kind of Blue first. That's a given. And I think most would agree. But for the second MIles album I think would have to recommend  Sketches Of Spain. That was from that same period, released in 1960 a year after Kind of Blue," said Dick Conte when interviewed by the Amoeblog this week. The reason we reached out to the KCSM DJ, whose past radio stations include legendary bygone era Bay Area jazz radio station KJAZ (1959 - 1994), was because today is the birth date of Miles Davis who died at age 65 back in 1991.

The highly influential jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was born on May 26th, 1926. And in recognition of the date and the jazz icon himself, all day today at all three Amoeba Music stores is a 20% sale on all Miles Davis releases and related product (LPs, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, posters, books etc.). This Amoeblog, the fifth in a weeklong series of celebrating important artists' birthdays, is a brief tribute to the man and his vast important back-catalog, and a sort of crash course in what to get by Miles Davis if you are only now beginning to build a collection of the legendary jazz artist's work.


Miles Davis Bitches Brew (1970) (also on LP/vinyl)


Because Dick Conte is a true jazz connoisseur, I chose to ask him about the legendary jazz figure including that opening tough question of choosing just two Miles Davis albums if that was all he could pick. 80 year old Conte is a Bay Area based lifelong jazz fan, a musician (jazz keyboardist), as well as being a veteran Bay Area jazz radio DJ. Conte has spent his entire lifetime playing, listening to, and collecting jazz music. Not surprisingly his deep record collection includes a large section dedicated to Miles Davis, or "Miles."


Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool (1957) (also on LP/vinyl) was a collection of a dozen 1949/1950
recordings released years later as an album by Capitol Records - not to be confused
with The Complete Birth of the Cool

That singular fist name reference of simply Miles is how most refer to the beloved artist who is not only widely considered the greatest jazz artist in the history of music, but one of the greatest artists period. As such he is admired by music fans and artists of all genres. For example San Francisco hip-hop scratch DJ / turntablist pioneer DJ Qbert cites Miles Davis as one of his key influences and musical heroes. "From early on in my record collecting days Miles Davis has had an important impact on how I think about music," said Qbert citing such other non hip-hop influences as Sun Ra and Jimi Hendrix.


Latter career Miles Davis albums such as Tutu  (1986) should not be overlooked

Equally passionate about Miles is percussionist Albert Mathias of the experimental San Francisco jazz hip-hop trio Livehuman (with DJ Quest and bassist Andrew Kushin) also cites Miles Davis as a major influence on his and his group's work. "Livehuman was born of an inspiration I had listening to Miles Davis' doo-bop record," he told the Amoeblog in reference to the posthumous 1992 album. That was a couple of months back right before Livehuman did an Amoeba San Francisco instore in celebration of their 2017 album scrathBop. "Everyone owes it to themselves to sit in a room alone and listen to Miles' albums. Honestly it will change you and how you perceive music," said Mathias.



Miles Davis  Round About Midnight (also on LP/vinyl) (1957)


With a rich back-catalog spanning not just historical decades but various musical movements, and record labels that further divided his career stages, some of which Miles either pioneered or was instrumental in shaping as both band leader and member, there's an awful lot of Miles Davis albums to choose from. There's studio and live albums. There's compilations. And there's varying collaborations and contributing album projects such as Miles' landmark early appearances on record as member of bebop saxophonist Charlie Parker's quintet (1945 - 1947). Further proof of the depth and diversity lies in how the online Amoeba store divides Miles' releases under subsections including Miles Davis (Jazz, Bop, Hard Bop, Cool Jazz, Fusion), The Miles Davis Quintet (Jazz, Bop, Hard Bop), The Miles Davis Sextet (Jazz, Bop), and The Miles Davis Septet,

Found under The Miles Davis Sextet (Jazz, Bop) is Miles Davis Sextet: Live At The Fillmore West (1970)


Every Miles fan you talk to has their own top five or top ten lists of must-have albums. And these may vary depending on the mood they are going for. Many Miles lists tend to include such classics as the aforementioned Kind of Blue (1959) (also on LP/vinyl)Round About Midnight (1957) (also on LP/vinyl), Miles Ahead (1957), Milestones (1958) (also on LP/vinyl), the Capitol collection of recordings Birth of the Cool (1957) (also on LP/vinyl), Bitches Brew (1970) (also on LP/vinyl),  On the Corner (1972) (also on LP/vinyl) and Sketches Of Spain (1960) (also on LP/vinyl). "Oh man, Sketches Of Spain with Gil Evans is just the perfect album," enthused Dick Conte who added that, while delving into all of his classic work, one must not overlook Miles' later career / 1980's albums such as Tutu (1986) and the generally slept on Marcus Miller collaboration music from the film Siesta that revisited the landmark Sketches of Spain .

Miles Davis Sketches Of Spain (1960) (also on LP/vinyl)

I asked the radio DJ about back in the KJAZ days if there was a favorite Miles album by the DJs at the freeform jazz station or one requested repeatedly by its listeners? "No there was so many to chose from and play. Although I do remember when Bitch's Brew came out how that got played a lot! That ablum Bitches Brew when it came out in 1970 it was a game changer!  That was the beginning of electric period. Yeah  we played that a lot!" Conte brought the conversation back to Kind of Blue, which was another favorite at the radio station, noting how it transcended jazz and how over the years it has remained the consistently top selling jazz albums - even six decades after its release.



Miles Davis Milestones (1958) (also on LP/vinyl)

Live Human's Mathias further praised Kind of Blue suggesting that, "It's the album that I tell people who have not listened to any jazz and don't know where to start, to listen to. And they always end up agreeing with me. whether they're rap fans or rock fans, whatever. It is the quintessential jazz album. Besides the music there's that album cover too!," laughed Mathias.. Judge for yourself below where, immediately underneath the album's back cover art, is an audio-only YouTube clip of the album. Worth reading are the YouTube comments that accompany the video's post: ones like YT Nat Brown who wrote, "In times of constant chaos and everyday idiocy, this album is like a glass of water after a long walk through the desert.?"

Back cover of Miles Davis' 1959 Kind of Blue (also on LP/vinyl)
Miles Davis' 1959 Kind of Blue (also on LP/vinyl)

Relevant Tags

Kind Of Blue (4), Dick Conte (1), Bebop (1), Freebop (2), Live Human (5), Livehuman (4), Kjaz (1), Miles Davis (36), Jazz Collecting (1)