Monday, February 23, 2015

Miles on Monday: Sketches of Spain as classical music; unheard recordings of Davis' "first great quintet"; and more

For this week's "Miles on Monday," some recent news items about the iconic trumpeter:

* As the Miles Davis Memorial Project gets closer to their goal of putting up a statue of the trumpeter in the town where he was born, March 1 is the deadline to purchase an inscribed brick or granite block to be placed around the statue, which will be located on a plaza on West Third Street in Alton’s downtown business district.

Preston Jackson, the artist creating the statue of Davis, currently is finishing preparations to cast the bronze statue, and construction on the site will begin this spring as soon as the weather permits. Memorial bricks are $75 and granite blocks are $400, and can be ordered online, by calling Pride Incorporated at 618-467-2375, or in person at the Alton Convention & Visitors Bureau, 200 Piasa Street in Alton.

* A DJ at Colorado Public Radio wonders if Davis' album Sketches of Spain should be considered classical music.

* DownBeat has republished on their website an interview Davis did with Nat Hentoff back in 1955.

* Also re-released on the web this week: The pubic radio program Studio 360's "American Icons" episode from 2007 about Davis' Kind of Blue.

* Courtesy of the bigO audio archive, you can download recordings of some radio broadcasts of performances by Davis' quintet in the 1950s at NYC's Cafe Bohemia that are previously unreleased in the USA.

The airchecks from 1956 and 1957 feature Davis' "first great quintet," with John Coltrane on tenor sax, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

Another broadcast from 1958 features the same group. except with Bill Evans in for Garland. There's also a 1953 version of "A Night in Tunisia" and a 1958 jam session version of "What Is This Thing Called Love?' All the tracks are purported to be in the public domain thanks to copyright laws in Europe, where the recordings originally were issued.

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