Miles Davis famously once said, "I have to change; it's like a curse" – and that's exactly what he did throughout his entire career. In 1969, the trumpet icon may have pulled off his greatest reinvention yet: he went "electric." Davis turned the jazz world upside down, marking the beginning of what's called the Electric Miles period – groundbreaking, raw, controversial and, now, classic.
"He had been evolving all along," electric bassist (and Davis collaborator) Marcus Miller says about his idol. "In the same way that America's evolution from the 1930s to the early '60s was absolutely an evolution. It was a revolution from the '60s to the '70s. And Miles' music was the same."
In 2019, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of Miles going electric: Miller organized a retrospective concert, recorded at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and through the evening opened a window into Davis' entire electric period — beginning with In A Silent Way in 1969, to his most notorious recordings of the late '80s, which brought drum machines, sampling technology and hip-hop into jazz.
Miller's two sold-out, awe-inspiring concerts in the Rose Theater reinforced the conviction that this outrageous, infectious music can still speak to us today.
"When you create music," Miller says, "your primary responsibility is to reflect the times that you live in."
Video Set List:
- "Bitches Brew" (Miles Davis)
- "Spanish Key" (Miles Davis)
- "Black Satin" (Miles Davis)
Marcus Miller: Music director, bandleader, bass guitar, bass clarinet; Brett Williams, Keyboards; Alex Han, Saxophone; Russell Gun, Trumpet; Marquis Hill, Trumpet; Vernon Reid, Guitar; Alex Bailey, Drums; Mino Cinelu, Percussion.
Concert Producer: Naeemah Hicks; Producers: Len Riggio, Justin Bias, Sarah Geledi, Nikki Birch; Concert Recording Engineer & Mix: Rob Macomber; Concert Video Director: Jim Sapione; Videographers: Hiram Becker, Brandon Smith, Andrew Trost; Editor: Nikki Birch; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Senior Producers: Nikki Birch, Katie Simon; Supervising Editor: Keith Jenkins; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundman.