5258932 Miles Davis is among the new inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For most of his career, the great jazz trumpeter played music that had very little to do with rock 'n' roll. But his influence on popular music is still being felt today.

Miles, Beyond Jazz: Rock Hall Honors Davis

Miles, Beyond Jazz: Rock Hall Honors Davis

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame welcomes its new members Monday night -- and that list will include Miles Davis. For most of his career, the great jazz trumpeter played music that had very little to do with rock 'n' roll.

Miles Davis performs in 1973 at Olympia Hall in Paris with saxophonist Dave Liebman (seen in enlargement) and bassist Michael Henderson. Alain DeJean /Sygma/Corbis hide caption

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Alain DeJean /Sygma/Corbis

Miles Davis performs in 1973 at Olympia Hall in Paris with saxophonist Dave Liebman (seen in enlargement) and bassist Michael Henderson.

Alain DeJean /Sygma/Corbis

When we hear the story of how Davis earned a place in the rock Hall of Fame, we learn something about the way popular music evolved into the songs we hear today. Steve Inskeep talks with music journalist Ashley Kahn, a regular contributor to Morning Edition and one of those who votes on Hall of Fame inductees, about how Davis spanned musical genres.

Three Albums That Shattered The Jazz-Rock Wall

Much has been written as to why Miles Davis began to merge his own style of modern jazz with the sounds and rhythms of rock: for the money, for the attention, for the reason that he simply could not deny the drive to musically explore. The best explanation of what he achieved is the music itself. His almost single-handed success in tearing down the wall between jazz and rock is captured in the three albums below, recorded by Miles' expanding and increasingly amplified group from 1969 to 1970.

Ashley Kahn is author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece and A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album.

'Bitches Brew'

'Bitches Brew'

The double album that proved jazz's top seller to date was controversial and attracted another, younger generation into the Miles fold. Brew drew from a deliberately wide palette of textures and timbres. Deep funk and weighty rock influences abound, along with Latin and African percussion, saucy jams and ghostly, lyrical solos.

 

'Spanish Key' (Excerpt)

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'Live-Evil'

'Live-Evil'

Another double album that offered studio dates and tracks from an historic live performance in late 1970 at the Washington D.C. club, the Cellar Door. John McLaughlin's guitar is turned up -- way up. Now add former Motown session man Michael Henderson on bass, keyboardist Keith Jarrett, drummer Jack DeJohnette, percussionist Airto Moreira and sax man Gary Bartz. This was a lineup that should have recorded incessantly.

'Sivad' (Excerpt)

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'A Tribute to Jack Johnson'

'A Tribute to Jack Johnson'

Rock/jazz equilibrium achieved! With strong R & B flavors, this two-track album is filled with jams that still swing (and rock) hard. Originally intended as the soundtrack to a film depicting the celebrated black prizefighter.

'Right Off' (Excerpt)

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