29-06-06

Miles Update

From Yahoo news:

 

By JEFF DOUGLAS, Associated Press Writer Mon Jun 26, 4:36 PM ET
ST. LOUIS - To say 2006 is a busy year for Miles Davis and the estate of
the late jazz virtuoso would be like saying Davis was a decent trumpet
player.
CDs, a DVD, a book, a movie, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
and even a USC marching-band halftime performance are a few pieces that
make up something of a comeback for the King of Cool in his 80th-birthday
year.
"One of the things that has been most surprising to me is just how iconic
the name Miles Davis is," said Darryl Porter, the General Manager of Miles
Davis Properties. "Part of our goal is to get a whole new generation of
Miles fans."
As music changed, Davis morphed his cool jazz into fusion and experimental
sounds that later gave way to jazz funk and hip-hop grooves. This year,
his estate is finding ways to reinvent Davis and let the music he composed
continue to evolve.
Remixed Davis recordings called "Evolution of the Groove," featuring
Santana and the rapper Nas, will be released in the fall.
Miles Davis Properties hired high-powered entertainment publicists Rogers
& Cowan this year to promote Davis' legacy and the many events taking
place this year.
Porter came on board to run the estate in the past year. He knew the jazz
legend and the Davis family since childhood. A lawyer and manager for
others in the music industry, Porter now coordinates business and
marketing for the estate. Requests to use Davis' music and image come from
around the world and are granted by Miles Davis Properties daily, he said.
In May, a collectors' box of the Miles Davis Quintet was released 50 years
after the recording sessions. But the momentum that Davis created during a
career that spanned decades hardly needs a push from a four-disc box set
or the force his estate has put behind him this year.
Sales of Davis' music have not slowed since his death 15 years ago.
"There's not an easier musician to market than Miles Davis. There are so
many different version of Miles Davis. People can plug into the Miles they
like," said jazz critic Gerald Early, who has edited a book on Davis. "As
far as an artistic commodity, he's very valuable."
"Kind of Blue," still sells thousands of CDs a week, according to Sony
BMG. It's Davis' most acclaimed recording with the smooth melodies of John
Coltrane and other jazz greats. Davis records that also are jazz-
collection essentials, including the trippy "Bitches Brew" and "Birth of
the Cool" have maintained similar stamina.
Sony Legacy plans to release more Davis recordings this year and his
estate is excited that

Don Cheadle has agreed to play Davis in an upcoming biopic.
"It's a great year for Miles, there's definitely been a renewed interest,"
said Chuck Haddix, a jazz historian and director of the Marr Sound
Archives in Kansas City, Mo.
In comparing Davis' estate with another jazz legend, Charlie Parker,
there's a marked difference, Haddix said. Parker's survivors had been in
turmoil for years with litigation over his estate.
"Even before Parker was in the ground his family was embroiled in
controversy over money," Haddix said. "I think Miles was a little bit
better at taking care of business."
Porter said looking at the strength of Davis' estate today, it was obvious
he knew what he wanted for his survivors and understood the value of
publishing.
But Davis' survivors have not been without any public feuding.
His son Gregory Davis has written a book that tells how he and Miles Davis
Jr. were not named as beneficiaries in their dad's will when he passed on
at the age of 65 in 1991. Gregory still owns a portion of his father's
publishing rights, however.
Miles Davis' legacy and the eternal proceeds from his name and music are
now entrusted to four relatives who make up the Davis estate - his
youngest son, Erin, daughter Cheryl, and nephew Vince Wilburn Jr. and his
father (Davis' brother in law).
Gregory's book, "Dark Magus," is expected to be released this year. It
paints his father's personality as "Jekyll and Hyde," something other
Davis children disagree with.
That's not a side of Davis that's being honored this year from St. Louis,
where he spent his early years, to Hollywood.
A jazz concert was held last month in his honor here, where he was honored
the year before his death with a gold-plated star embedded in the St.
Louis Walk of Fame. Besides the Rock Hall of Fame, Davis this year was
also immortalized by Hollywood's RockWalk (having already been etched a
few years back into the Hollywood Walk of Fame). In addition, the

Smithsonian Institution in Washington had an exhibit on Davis and
Thelonious Monk in April, and a performance DVD of Davis will be released
on the 15th anniversary of his passing in September.
"He was always about improving the craft and moving forward," Erin Davis
said. "We feel like we are honoring him by continuing that tradition."

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