The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959 deserves a horny hello.
Originally published October 20, 2011 at midnight, updated October 20, 2011 at midnight
When trumpeter Miles Davis entered a New York City studio in 1959, he gave minimal directions to his sextet, which included saxophonists John Coltrane and “Cannonball” Adderley. But after the jazz greats left two recording sessions, they had a jazz masterpiece titled Kind of Blue that was created primarily through improvisation.
That same adventurous spirit is summoned by 29-year-old trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire when he takes the stage to perform as part of the multi-media The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959 for one night at Carmel’s Sunset Center. While Akinmusire and his quintet can play compositions from great Davis albums like 1959’s Kind of Blue and 1956’s Birth of Cool, the young player would rather choose the songs for each evening on the fly. “The music tells you what to play,” he says.
Winner of the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, Akinmusire says that he and his bandmates try to reach the feel of Davis’s work rather than going for outright imitations. “We are playing a few tunes from that era as if he was in the audience,” he says.
The trumpeter has no favorite Davis album, but views all the jazz icon’s music as a single body of work. “I think once you become a student of something you have an aerial view,” he says.
Akinmusire’s quintet is just a part of The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959. The event also includes three screens behind the band that show various images from the era. Also, there’s playwright and comedian Donald Lacy, who narrates about the social and artistic happenings of the times.
While Akinmusire is unsure of what he’ll perform in Carmel, he is sure attendees will walk away with a better understanding of the decade. “It’s a lot of information,” he says, “within 90 minutes.”
THE MILES DAVIS EXPERIENCE: 1949-1959 starts at 8pm Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Sunset Center, San Carlos and Ninth, Carmel. $39-$59. 620-2048.