“He revolutionized jazz several times and dabbled in many other musical genres. In honor of the 25th anniversary of trumpet legend Miles Davis’ death, here is a look back at the mark he left on music.
The trumpet dances gracefully over the bass and drums, softly rising and falling. Cool and relaxed, it navigates across the harmonies, finding a new melodic route again and again until it gently lands and gives way to the next solo instrument.
It feels like just a few minutes, but “Bag’s Groove” is actually 11 minutes and 12 seconds long. It’s the result of a studio session on Christmas night in 1954 with Miles Davis’ band and renowned guest musicians Milt Jackson (vibraphone) and Thelonious Monk (piano).
The session didn’t start well. Davis’ record label boss had invited the two guests without telling him. Davis didn’t have anything against Jackson. But he thought Monk was always playing the wrong chords and refused to let him accompany him during his solos – which turned out to be a stroke of luck.
That left Davis room for his improvisations and revealed how different he was from Jackson and Monk. The group recorded two versions of the song, both of which made it onto the album of the same name three years later. The distinctly different ways of playing put “Bag’s Groove” among the most exciting jazz recordings of the 1950s.“