The Second Disc

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Miles Davis’ “Blue Flame” Continues To Burn Bright With New Fan-Selected Comp

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For many, the very art of jazz is inextricably tied to the art of improvisation, or creating in the moment.  So it’s both innovative and altogether appropriate that Legacy Recordings is spearheading an improvised album of a sort for one of jazz’s true greats, the trumpeter and composer Miles Davis.  Though christened Blue Flame, little else has been set in stone for the digital-only album which will be released on September 26.  (And even that title was chosen via a fan poll!  Doesn’t it tip the hat nicely to Davis’ 4x platinum 1959 LP, Kind of Blue?) Here’s where the improvisation comes in: Blue Flame will be wholly assembled from votes on Facebook.

Davis’ music, in all its periods from bebop to fusion, continues to speak to legions of fans and musicians alike, so this unique initiative is asking fans to select their favorite tracks from 40 selections offered on Davis’ Facebook page.  “The Miles Davis Fan Project” launched on August 1, and the 40 tracks offered in the program encompass many phases of Davis’ ever-chameleonic musical persona.  His lengthy Columbia Records career spanned 1957 and 1985, during which time his collaborators and sidemen included luminaries like John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans and so many more.  The tracks have been featured on Facebook via social sound sharing platform SoundCloud, powered by RootMusic’s BandPage application.  The tracks feature Facebook’s “Like” button (now virtually a part of the cultural lexicon, itself!) which prompts fans to vote.  The ten recordings that receive the most “Likes” will be assembled as Blue Flame.  A quick glance at Davis’ Facebook page shows favorite tracks like “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “E.S.P.,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “Nefertiti” among the titles in contention.

Hit the jump for more on this fresh initiative!

According to the label, more than 20,000 “Likes” had already been tallied by mid-August, with some songs grabbing more than 2,500 “Likes.”  Over 35,000 plays have already been accrued of the available songs.  This spirit of fan inclusion has extended not only to the album’s name and track listing but also to its artwork and liner notes.  Fans have been invited to create artwork and contribute personal testimonials as to what Davis’ music has meant to them.

It should be noted that Blue Flame coincides with the 20th anniversary of Davis’ passing on September 28, 1991 at 65 years of age.  Davis (the recipient of a 1990 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award) had continued to perform up until the very end of his life, uniting with Quincy Jones at the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival to perform many of his early career classics for the first time in decades.  He also collaborated that final year with Michel Legrand on the score to Dingo, a film in which he also appeared.

The final track listing and art for Blue Flame will be revealed on the September 26 release date.  One week earlier, on September 20, Legacy and Columbia will release The Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Volume 1.  The very first title in a series of rare and previously unreleased live recordings from the quintessentially restless jazz leader, Bootleg Vol. 1 premieres tracks from gigs in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden covering a wide stylistic repertoire.

Miles Davis would have turned 85 back in May of this year, but the fan engagement of Blue Flame proves, without a doubt, that his appeal continues to register with younger audiences.   Davis was present at The Birth of the Cool, and cool he inevitably remains.  Look for the fan-curated digital release on September 26!

Written by Joe Marchese

August 26, 2011 at 14:37

One Response

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  1. It’s really difficult to find the point of such compilation, if not – as usual – milking some more money from the fans.
    Except, this time, what fan might be interested? The fan who has voted “blue in green” or “bye bye blackbird” as favorite performances??? Isn’t that fan supposed to already OWN them, if he so much happens to “like” them??
    Unbelievable case of scraping-the-barrel…


    August 28, 2011 at 11:17

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