Monday, December 22, 2014

Miles on Monday: "Blue Xmas"
and a career visualized

This week for "Miles on Monday," you can get an unusual overview of Davis' "Illustrious Jazz Career Visualized Like A Record," via the infographic depicted in shrunken form at left.

Created by the information-visualization firm Fathom, the same folks who made the interactive timeline of Davis' career that we linked to here a while back, the "Scaled in Miles" graphic depicts that career in poster form, diagramming 577 different musicians who collaborated with the trumpeter over 405 recording sessions.

Also, with Christmas coming this week, it's the right time of year for a listen to "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)," the seasonal song composed by Davis and singer Bob Dorough in 1962 and released that year as part of a Columbia Records Christmas jazz compilation. 

The lyrics by Dorough, best known these days for writing material for ABC's Schoolhouse Rock, offer a rather bleak view of the holidays, observing, "When you're blue at Xmas time, you see through all the waste / All the sham, all the haste, and plain old bad taste / It's a time when the greedy give a dime to the needy." 

This was the only time Davis ever worked with Dorough, though another track from the same recording session, "Nothing Like You" eventually was issued as part of Davis' 1967 album Sorcerer.  However, the session also proved to be the start of another, much more fruitful musical partnership, as it was the first time Davis recorded with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who would be tapped as a member of the trumpeter's "Second Great Quintet" shortly thereafter.

Along with Davis, Dorough and Shorter, the song featured Davis' then-current rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb, along with guests Frank Rehak on trombone and Willie Correa on percussion. You can hear the audio recording in the embedded YouTube window below:

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