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Miles Smiles

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The second album by Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet found the group settling into its aesthetic—freer rhythmically than other hard-bop units, but still rooted in tunes. And what tunes: Here’s the recording that made saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” into a standard. (Ditto for “Orbits”.) Limit-pushing is the order of the day: Herbie Hancock plays with just his right hand on select cuts. Drummer Tony Williams daringly switches meters. And Miles is Miles, his burnished sound well justifying the album cover’s satisfied mien.


Born: 26 May 1926 in Alton, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Although Miles Davis' 1955-1957 quintet had a relatively short life, it went down in history as one of the finest and most interesting bebop combos of the 1950s. It was a group in which different musical personalities did more than coexist -- they complimented and inspired each other. The quintet's front line had two unlikely allies in Davis and the distinctive John Coltrane, whose aggressive, passionate tenor saxophone was quite a contrast to Davis' subtle, understated, cool-toned trumpet. Davis,...
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