June 15, 2004


Fafnir and Giblets are both right, although I prefer Big Fun and Kind of Blue as exemplars of their respective eras. But neither of them were alive in the '70s? I feel old.

Posted by Matt Weiner at June 15, 2004 11:25 AM

Big Fun is great, but IMO the best 1970's Miles is Get Up With It. Or maybe Live/Evil. I'm also extremely partial to Jack Johnson, especially as driving music -- or at least, I was back in high school, which is, coincidentally, the last time I had access to a car.

Kind of Blue is obviously great, but a bit of an anomaly and not really representative of any particular era of Miles, unless you define "era" as "the brief period where Bill Evans was in the band," and not even really that, since Bill had already left the band when Kind of Blue was recorded, and Miles had to bring him back 'specially.

Anyway... to get extra wonky here, the canonical 1950's Miles records are the four "Classic Quintet" Prestige releases (Workin', Cookin', Steamin', and Relaxin') -- the same lineup as Round About Midnight, recorded around the same time, but with much more inspired playing and better choice of material.

The canonical 1960's records were with Wayne, Herbie, Ron, and Tony, though it would be hard to pick just one. Some people would go for the Plugged Nickel box set, which is truly amazing, but since it lacks any of Wayne's compositions, I'm inclined to go for Miles Smiles as my pick for the sixties.

1970's Miles was kicked off by Bitches Brew, but that's actually not such a good record. Almost everything that followed was much more successful, but Bitches Brew remains a cultural landmark, even if the later records are better listenin'.

Posted by: Thad at June 15, 2004 10:44 PM