Miles Davis - Milestones

14 Oct
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In 1948 Davis grew close to the Canadian composer and arranger Gil Evans.

Evans' basement apartment had become the meeting place for several young musicians and composers such as Davis, Roach, pianist John Lewis, and baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan who were unhappy with the increasingly virtuoso instrumental techniques that dominated the bebop scene. Evans had been the arranger for the Claude Thornhill orchestra, and it was the sound of this group, as well as Duke Ellington's example, that suggested the creation of an unusual line-up: a nonet including a French horn and a tuba (this accounts for the "tuba band" moniker that was to be associated with the combo).Birth of the Cool (1948–49)

Davis took an active role in the project, so much so that it soon became "his project". The objective was to achieve a sound similar to the human voice, through carefully arranged compositions and by emphasizing a relaxed, melodic approach to the improvisations.

The nonet debuted in the summer of 1948, with a two-week engagement at the Royal Roost. The sign announcing the performance gave a surprising prominence to the role of the arrangers: "Miles Davis Nonet. Arrangements by Gil Evans, John Lewis and Gerry Mulligan". It was, in fact, so unusual that Davis had to persuade the Roost's manager, Ralph Watkins, to allow the sign to be worded in this way; he prevailed only with the help of Monte Kay, the club's artistic director.

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