Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Miles and miles and miles of... yup, Miles

  • Print

There are only a few certainties in life: death, taxes and Miles Davis merchandise.

The legendary trumpeter was a masterful musician and a real personality during his life, and since his death in 1991 there have been as many boxed sets of recordings and single-disc reissues, and books about him, as any diehard fan could hope to collect.

The latest could be a boon to shelf-starved fans -- a coffee-table book combining iconic photos, posters, record jackets and essays from musicians and jazz writers.

Miles Davis, The Complete Illustrated History (Voyageur Press, $44) is a good overview of the jazz legend whose career ranged from bebop through cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz and jazz-rock fusion.

It doesn't pretend to be a definitive look at the complex man, but it does cover the basics in a series of essays by musicians he played with -- such as Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Dave Liebman -- and jazz biographers and columnists, such as Ashley Kahn, Robin D.G. Kelley, Francis Davis and Nate Chinen.

If you've read much about Miles Dewey Davis, a lot of the information will be repetitive. If you're new to Milesophilia, the book is an easy way to get started. Even longtime fans will find something new, and the photos, illustrations and even ticket stubs are fun to browse through.

There are 227 colour and 93 black-and-white photos from the likes of Francis Wolff, William Gottlieb and William (PoPsie) Randolph. They range from his early days through the more flamboyant attire of the '70s and '80s, and are generally very good, but I'm not sure great bassist Dave Holland will be pleased to see himself onstage at a festival in Texas in 1969 with wild hair and wearing a vest and no shirt. Granted, Miles gave him a break you can only dream of, and we all have similar photos in our past; it's just that ours don't end up in a widely distributed book decades later.

It's fun to read how Sonny Rollins, the great tenor saxophonist who remains active and vibrant at 82, admired Miles' playing and his stance that you must always be changing, you can't stand still -- a credo Rollins also embraced.

Pianist Herbie Hancock and bassist Ron Carter recount the musical laboratory that was Miles' "second great quintet" -- with drummer Tony Williams and saxophonist Wayne Shorter -- in the 1960s.

It was a great time for jazz fans -- it still is on recordings -- and a great time for the four musicians who Miles encouraged to take chances, to move the music in different directions.

Not all was sweetness and light in Miles' world and the book doesn't overlook the drug problems, the divorces and the sometimes erratic behaviour.

But warts and all, Miles was a great musician and band leader and this new book lays out his life and legacy as one of the best-known, bestselling (still) jazz artists of all time.

-- -- --

Singer Amber Epp and guitarist Keith Price promise to get loopy on Friday during their duo gig at Exchange Community Church.

Epp has recently started using a loop pedal and she and the guitarist will both use the technology, which allows you to record a sound and repeat it over and over in layers, on original songs, Christmas tunes and to add what Epp calls "new flavours" to melodies by Paul McCartney and Wings, Stevie Wonder and Arcade Fire.

The two musicians, who met as students in the University of Manitoba jazz studies program and who began their musical partnership five years ago at the Inn at The Forks, will perform Friday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m., at Exchange Community Church, 75 Albert St.; tickets $15 / $10 students.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2012 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


I Dream of Diesel at Rachel Brown Theatre scene preview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google