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2006 A Good Year for Miles Davis Fans


Although Miles Davis died nearly 15 years ago, he's having one of his best years ever. Is that possible?

Miles Davis had a lot of good years, but nothing like the one he's having in 2006. It began in March when Davis became the first jazz artist to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

It's no secret that Miles experimented with rock and roll. His fusion of rock with jazz, funk and soul in the 1960s was groundbreaking. But it was his mastery of jazz, his innovations, and his stylish presence on stage that will always be remembered. The Ken Burns documentary Jazz suggests, "Jazz stopped evolving when Miles Davis wasn't there to push it forward."

Upon his arrival in New York in 1944, Miles Davis immersed himself in jazz, playing bebop with the best of them in clubs on the "Street Of Jazz," 52nd Street. By the time he was 22, he had already shared the stage with Benny Carter, Charlie Parker and Billy Eckstein.

Miles reached new heights as a trumpeter, bandleader and composer in the 1950s. He pushed traditional jazz boundaries with arranger Gil Evans; formed his all-star quintet, featuring saxophonist John Coltrane; made a show-stopping appearance at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival; and released the landmark jazz albums Birth Of The Cool, Miles Ahead, Kind Of Blue and 'Round About Midnight.

From bebop to jazz-rock, Miles Davis remained the essence of cool both on and offstage. He made his last concert appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in July 1991. He was 65 when he died of heart failure just two months later.

Concord Records is celebrating with the release of a box set of the trumpeter's Complete Prestige Recordings of the 1950s, featuring his famed quintet. A rare disc of previously unreleased radio and television audio performances will accompany the collection.

Also helping to preserve his legacy is the National Museum of American History, which recently put items of Miles Davis memorabilia on permanent display. Several DVDs of key performances will be released later this year.

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