“Bye Bye Blackbird”

Who would have thought that a cover of a classic previously recorded by everyone from Gene Austin to Fitzgerald would become one of the most definitive tracks of modern jazz? Alive with melodic, lyric-mimicking trumpet sections and a wild solo by Coltrane, Davis really hit home with his eight-minute re-invigoration of the track, which was released on the 1957 album “Round About Midnight”.

“Autumn Leaves”

“Autumn Leaves” is an elegant and jazzy piece that jumps easily between Parisian whimsy and Moroccan-come-Spanish twists. Long and winding, the tune evokes a certain wanderlust, hopping to far-flung destinations and delving into nostalgic memories as Art Blakey and Davis alternate drums and trumpet. For another fabulous rendition of “Autumn Leaves” featuring Miles, check out his 11-minute jam with Cannonball Adderley on the latter’s 1958 record “Somethin’ Else”.


Recorded in one long session, live at the Festival Hall in Osaka in 1975, “Prelude” (both Part 1 and Part 2 – initially combined) is not what you’d usually associate with the plaintive phrases of Davis. In fact, it’s widely categorized as jazz-prog-rock, along with the rest of its umbrella album, “Agharta”. Here’s Part 2: expect funk notes and slap bass, Hendrix-style solos and more!

“Seven Steps to Heaven”

The eponymous track to Davis’ 1963 Columbia release is widely considered to be the standard that set the tone for the so-called second coming of the quintet, reformed for side two of the LP with Herbie Hancock on keys and Tony Williams on drums. Upbeat and thought-provoking, there’s an enticing urgency to the piece from the get go.

“All Blues”

An unforgettable shuffle jazz that’s now become the memorable track on the B-side of “Kind of Blue”, “All Blues” is a Mixolydian masterpiece. There’s something brooding and tenuous about the cliff-hanger notes and turnarounds, culminating in a sort of musical liberation when the beats break and the muted trumpet solos fly in. Inspired!