What Was Your First Miles Davis Album?

Miles Davis Live-Evil

Live-Evil was Felix Contreras' first Miles Davis record. Whoa. Mati Klarwein hide caption

itoggle caption Mati Klarwein

I usually check in here on Thursdays or Fridays, so we missed Miles Davis' birthday anniversary by at least one day. I'll still share something on my mind to mark what would have been Miles' 84th.

The first Miles Davis album I heard was Live-Evil. How scary is that?

For those unfamiliar with Miles' recorded works, it's an unconventional place to dip your toe into the water. It's electric, dense, deliberate — but ultimately glorious in its mash-up of crunchy hard rock guitar, funk and disregard for expectations. As a budding percussionist I was forever changed by Airto's avant-garde use of traditional Brazilian instruments.

From Live-Evil it was on to Get Up With It, with its organ drones and plaintive, electronically-treated trumpet blasts. Then Live At the Fillmore and Dark Magus. All records from Miles Davis' electric period — and all not in the usual Top Ten Miles Davis lists.

By that time, someone had already given me a copy of Kind of Blue, but I don't think I had even opened it. This was 1976-77, and I was into hard rock, Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix. Electric Miles made sense to me.

That's why the upcoming deluxe re-release(s) of Bitches Brew have my mouth watering. Remastered songs, unreleased tracks, DVDs of his band from that period (1970): It's all a treasure trove of the DNA of Miles' electric period. Though I still have my vinyl copy, as well as various CD versions, I'm excited to listen again to how it all started and put it into the context of what came after. As for the extravagant packaging: some of us still dig getting all the cool things that come in big vinyl-album-size boxes after years of opening those ridiculously small CD cases with tiny print and lame album cover art.

Is it a blatant attempt to sell even more Miles Davis records? Maybe. But Miles Davis albums will probably sell no matter what record companies do to market them. And for that we can be grateful.

What was your first Miles Davis album?

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