Mountain View, CA (PressExposure) November 06, 2011 -- Miles Davis is unquestionably one of the great musicians of the 20th century. During his nearly 50 year career, he was often leading jazz in completely new directions. During such a prolific career, Miles Davis released an amazing number of albums, but many new jazz fans don't know where to start with such a large selection of music. Vinyl Revinyl, a popular music blog with a focus on vinyl records recently compiled the greatest Miles Davis albums.
Alan Bayer, the owner of Vinyl Revinyl, and jazz fan explained: "Miles Davis was an amazing musical innovator. His career spanned many 'phases' of musical innovation. Each one of these phases has at least one exceptional albums that stands out."
In the early days of Davis' career, he was known for playing bebop, which is a fast-paced style of jazz with improvisation based on chord changes. Soon enough, Miles was on the verge of a new style: Cool jazz.
To the cool jazz phase of Davis' career, Bayer suggests that "Birth of the Cool is a classic jazz album and a great example of the cool jazz style".
Soon enough, Davis was innovating Modal Jazz, which features improvisation based on musical modes. It was Davis' 1959 masterpiece "Kind of Blue" most signified this new approach to improvisation.
"Kind of Blue is widely considered the greatest jazz album ever recorded. Any new jazz fan should probably get this album first, although I don't believe it's Davis' most exciting album" Bayer explained.
As Davis achieved greater fame in the later 50's, he found a kindred spirit in Gil Evans, one of Davis' closest collaborators.
With regards to Davis' collaborations with Evans, Bayer said: "The Gil Evans albums are masterpieces, but probably the most important are Sketches of Spain and Miles Ahead."
In the mid 60's, Miles Davis put together a band that became known as the "Second Great Quintet".
Interestingly, the music released during this period showed amazing talent and musicianship, but had less to do with Davis as a performer.
Bayer explains: "The interesting thing about what was going on during Davis' second great quintet was how little Davis was contributing. He had the ultimate musical vision, sure, but it was his band that truly made the albums so special. Many of the songs appearing on albums during this era were written by his band members. Miles had an ear for talent, and these albums allowed those talented musicians to shine. ESP, Nefertiti and Filles de Kilimanjaro are probably his best from this era, but no other era in Davis' career was as tight as this era. You can't go wrong with any album he released in the early to mid 60's."
As the 60's were coming to a close, Miles Davis began to show interest in electric instruments. At the time, he was an admirer of musicicans like Sly Stone, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, and soon enough he would release his own electric albums.
With regards to Miles Davis' electric era, Bayer had this to say: "Bitches Brew is probably Davis' most famous album from this era, and it's a great album, but "In A Silent Way" is more approachable. I'd start there before exploring some of Davis' more experimental electric albums."
By the mid 70's, Davis retired from music for 6 years, then came back in 1981. His later albums are a natural progression from his fusion albums of the 70's. He continued to use electric instruments and find inspiration in young talent. He explored pop music, and in one of his final collaborations (With hip hop producer Easy Mo Bee), explored hip hop.
"It's impossible to sum up the one definitive Miles Davis album, and even within one of his musical phases, it's difficult. The albums mentioned here are great introductions, but to understand the music of Miles Davis, you'll have to dig even further" Bayer concluded.