At the start of the Miles Ahead adventure, George Avakian of Columbia Records offered Miles Davis two options to orchestrate the trumpeter’s large-scale recording. The choices were Gunther Schuller (of Third Stream fame) or Canadian.

Gil Evans. No none knows what Schuller would have produced if he had been the choice. But we do know what Evans generated alongside Miles’ trumpet – a pure masterpiece released in 1957 under the title Miles Ahead. This would be the first of a series of striking orchestral releases combining the different-background talents of Evans and Davis.

A little more than a half-century later, the “Miles Ahead” sound of Mr. Davis is performed by trumpeter Keyon Harrold. Born in Ferguson, Missouri in 1980, the trumpeter frequently reflects the sound of protest that is found in his horn’s Rap-Ster-like quality and Charles Tolliver-influenced notes. You can hear all of this for yourself on June 10 at Dazzle.

For example, sax man Keith Oxman was at Dazzle on Miles’ anniversary, followed by sax man Peter Sommer (as part of the Ken Walker Sextet) on Friday, May 27.

On June 3, saxophonist Rico Jones is about town. Rico has played with major players such as drummer Ari Hoenig. And the strong Hoenig is in town with Markley’s Big Band on June 8, also at Dazzle.

Jazz Notes
Norman Provizer

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