🎵 How Good Are They Really 🎵 Miles Davis

fav album is probably sketches of spain. huge body of work though. and the classics are worthy of the status


One of those artists I want to like more than I actually do. I mean, I listen to Bitches Brew and Some Kind Of Blue and I can appreciate them, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually enjoyed the experience. Maybe I’ve never aligned them with the right environment or something. Don’t know really. I don’t know how to vote.

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Wow, this is sublime. I had no idea he was doing proto-ambient that delicately drifts into laid back prog in 1974. The man covered an incredible amount of ground. I’ve already given him a 5 - I’ll have to click 5 again and give him a thumbs up as well or something.

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5/5, his best music is some of the best music. Jazz obviously is not for everyone, but hard to imagine someone liking jazz but not rating Miles.

Don’t know any deep cuts so I’m going to enjoy diving in today. In a Silent Way, Kind of Blue, Birth of The Cool the albums I’ve enjoyed most to date.

The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 from 2018 is a great series of concert recordings with John Coltrane from Paris, Copenhagen and Stockholm from 1960. It was the last tour with Coltrane as part of Davis’ band, think there was a lot of tension between them at the time and I’ve read this is apparent in the playing; I don’t think I understand music well enough to hear the tensions but I love these recordings and they have soundtracked many afternoons for me over the past few years and never get tired of them.


Yeah, same for me.

Predictably, hip hop was my gateway to him (and all other jazz music) and I’ve dipped in and out regularly over the last 30ish years. Dad was a big fan too. But that said, I couldn’t say I have a favourite album, and I know all my favourite tracks as “the one Premier sampled for Manifest” etc.

They played Take the A Train at my Grandad’s funeral and I distinctly remember my Dad rolling his eyes (his sisters picked it) and later explaining “That’d be like them playing U Can’t Touch This at your funeral”.

Can’t decide between a 5 or just abstaining, but going back in today. Might check Get Up With It @McGarnagle


Agharta is the absolute one for me. @colossalhorse - think this will be right up your street too - it’s noisy, chaotic and originally on Japanese import only!).

Absolutely agree that focusing on different periods of his career is the best way to get into him - his discography’s too overwhelming otherwise. I’m in the minority I think, but 70s fusion Miles is my favourite period - Bitches Brew, Jack Johnston, On The Corner, Dark Magus, Get Up With It Agharta / Pangaea are all just absolutely amazing. He’d also altered the direction of jazz about three times already by the time he got to this point.

Aware that he was not the nicest human being (to put it very mildly) but don’t know masses about this side of him. Getting my five in early before the upcoming revelations. Taking purely on his musical output, surely has to be seen as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.


Cheers, I’ll check this one out too shortly - though I don’t have enough hands to click 5 while giving him two thumbs up!

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Really surprised that so many people are giving a woman beater an unquestioning 5/5 after all the (good) non-musical discussion in previous threads after the early David Bowie one. It’s weird because so many people said they would knock down the smashing pumpkins because Corgan is a dick, and even Belle and Sebastian because they look a bit creepy on stage or something.



An easy 5/5, amazing music, especially his electric era. Always love a read of this every so often

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5 for the best stuff, love the fusion period in particular. Been looking for a good live video with john mclaughlin if anyone knows any.

That said, not a great bloke and I dont love everything. He went pretty awful in the 80s.

4 overall

My second foray into his electric era after buying Bitches Brew was this beauty. An excellent starting point for newbies!

yeah he was an abuser, should’ve also mentioned that in my post

suppose the reason those threads took a different direction is that the actual musical output of those artists has been discussed to death on here for years, and people are generally probs more familiar with them as people

I felt this way for years, then it clicked and it’s just fucking wonderful. Definitely a record that rewards effort though - the title track or Spanish is probably a better entry point than Pharoe’s Dance, which is quite a forbidding opening track.

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Big +1 for HLHM (one of Eno’s favourites, and how I came to it)

Five for Miles from me

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Nice to put on whilst cooking on a summer’s evening.

That’s where this kind of thing starts and ends for me. Probably don’t know enough to give a score, might go for a 3/5.

Unquestionably, unarguably a 5. There is a powerful argument that he has a status in late twentieth century music equivalent to Picasso in modern art. The breadth and brilliance of his music, the dizzying variety of genres that he created, the mixture of technical brilliance and emotional punch that is probably unique all mark him out as an incredibly important figure.

If you were looking to compare him to a figure from rock/pop the closest would probably be someone like Bowie. But whilst Bowie was a skilled adaptor of musical ideas and trends, Miles was again and again in his career a true originator. The ideas that originated with him have blossomed into incredibly fecund genres of music that have co-existed ever since. That is unique I think.

Having started playing conventional bebop, he took a radical turn at the start of the 50s, slowing everything down and adding lush textures to make the recordings later compiled as The Birth of the Cool. The so called ‘cool jazz’ blossomed from there.

He’d soon moved on - making the wonderful large ensemble albums with Gil Evans which blur the borders between jazz and classical music (Sketches of Spain, Porgy and Bess). He was also building his first great quintet at the time, with a young John Coltrane, first of all playing a kind of sophisticated post-bop and then veering sideways into glorious modal lyricism on Kind of Blue - the best selling and probably most influential jazz album of all time.

In the 60s he had his second great quintet, with stellar young talents like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams then he confounded everybody again at the end of the decade by ‘going electric’. It’s hard to express how radical records like Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, On The Corner and Jack Johnson were. They were critically panned at the time but he persisted and it’s hard now to imagine music without the influence of those records - not only jazz but post-rock, drone, ambient etc are all massively influenced by them.

It’s fair to say that his muse deserted him a bit after this but there are good records from the 80s (Tutu especially).

A genius and a true artist.


These threads are like the whole argument in a nutshell though.

If you heard a couple of songs by someone, maybe an album, thought they were pretty good etc then if they turn out to be a rotter then its quite easy to go nah, they were ok but 1/5 because they did some horrible stuff.

Deep emotional connections with stuff are harder to let go. Think also the passing of time doesn’t help - its easier to excuse/look over someone from the past or when it was before your time.

Not excusing it at all, but i can see how it happens. Reckon if people were consistent then a lot of artists on the HGATR list would probably be 1’s.

Also, influence/impact is important. Artists transgressions (for want of a better term - awful behaviour maybe) can be taken into account without going to zero in the context of these discussions.

The thread is quite new also - normally as things get going more balance occurs. The start is usually people rushing to go AMAZING or SHIT and that sets an tone.

It is interesting though, and of course, if people are scoring 1’s or 0’s based on behaviour then thats understandable. Its so personal also. Domestic violence would rightly get a lot of people upset/turn them off someone, but then as mentioned in the sinatra thread, people wouldn’t necessary see consistent bullying behaviour and violence towards service staff etc as bad and may not take a point

Sorry rambling and being jumped on by a little 'un. not aimed at you Jordan


I think I’ll queue it up for another go after Get Up With It and Agartha. The wild, discordant Rated X seems to be going down well so maybe today is the day.

I’m still a fledgling in my journey into jazz and of the Big Ms I’m more into Mingus right now (all about that bass), but my minor forays into the overwhelming world of Miles Davis have yielded vastly different results and I’m still not sure which era is really for me.

I own a copy of Bitches Brew (like any jazz newb do), and it’s an album I’m more in awe of than love, but I come to it from a love of progressive rock and my attempts to get my head round it have actually made getting into other jazz styles and artists easier. Hard Bop, Fusion and Cosmic especially (love a bit of Sun Ra).

I’ll be investigating more of his music via this thread (Agharta sounds promising) but for now I’ll give him a 4 for a nearly insurmountable legacy and helping me tune into a wider range of music than I would have otherwise.

Love his music, wilfully ignorant of the guys persona, but what I know is fairly indefensible. There’s probably… A dozen Miles Davis albums I’ve really connected with and love. Live-Evil, is probably my favourite, seared into my head from tripping to it, On the Corner my most listened to, Kind of Blue probably the first jazz album I ever bought and loved. In a Silent Way… Man if someone made that as a piece of ambient music now it would blow my mind. I still have a whole world of music to explore by him and wouldn’t consider myself an expert, I still very much feel like a jazz outsider in general, but he really seems like a true genius to me of one of the most transformative and important musical movements ever.

Genius or “troubled genius” should never overshadow or erase the bad things someone has done. It almost always applies to men, and almost always to the detriment of the women who are their victims. I guess I connected with his music outside of that context. It will always be one of those, I love his music but things… What an incredible body of work he made, but it should not be forgotten that he’s a problematic and abusive person.

For the incredible wealth of music, it’s a 5/5 for me.