MILES DAVIS: Born: 26th May 1926 Died: 28th September 1991
Miles Davis would be celebrating his 90th birthday this year had he not departed in 1991. Miles Davis was a legendary trumpeter and bandleader, who loved to explore unknown musical paths; he was the icon of hip! Though no longer with us, his sound and stature is more alive than ever, with the re-release of a major musical collection covering twenty years of historic live performances, and a full-length motion picture, which have already begun to generate headlines and other major media attention. A number of other projects are in the pipeline as well, promising raise his legacy higher than ever.
The Newport Jazz Festival 2015 paid tribute to Miles’s past relationship with the annual event, and his close friendship with jazz impresario George Wein, who he first met in 1952 when they were both beginning to make names for themselves. Many groups performing on the stages at the festival played tunes written by or associated with Miles Davis, and Grammy Award®-winning author and music historian Ashley Kahn held two seminars each day on the renowned trumpet player at the festival’s new Storyville stage.
Miles Ahead is the title of the major motion picture co-written and co-produced by actor/director Don Cheadle, along with Miles’s nephew Vince Wilburn Jr. and his son Erin Davis. The film tells the story of a few dangerous days in the life of music icon Miles Davis (played by Cheadle), the virtuoso, fighter and genius, as he bursts out of his silent period and conspires with a Rolling Stone writer (Ewan McGregor) to steal back his music. The film has been funded in part through crowd funding on social media, and will introduce the trumpeter and his legacy to a whole new generation. The score for the film, featuring recreations of Miles’s classic performances, as well as original music channeling contemporary styles and sounds, has already achieved critical praise. Miles Ahead doesn’t have a release date yet, but will surely grab headlines and will be greeted by crowds of movie-goers hungry to know how this exciting and long-awaited labour of love turns out and, by all indications, they won’t be disappointed.
Over six full decades, from his arrival on the national scene in 1945 until his death in 1991, Miles Davis made music that grew from an uncanny talent to hear the future and a headstrong desire to play it. While the vast majority of musicians – jazz, rock, R&B may stay within their respective grooves, Miles Davis forever forged ahead, trusting and following instinct until the end. In doing so, Miles became the standard bearer for successive generations of musicians and shaped the course of modern improvisational music many times.