Musée de la Musicque/ Cité de la Musique

October 16, 2009 – January 17, 2010


Fifty years after recording Kind of Blue, the Musée de la Musique in Paris, France presents an ambitious retrospective devoted to Miles Davis. Organized with the support of the Miles Davis Properties, LLC., this exhibition follows the jazzman’s musical trajectory from his childhood in East St. Louis to the retrospective concert he gave at La Villette in Paris just weeks before he passed away.


Named “We Want Miles” after his 1981 album, this exhibition is a tribute to the passion the musician inspired throughout his whole career. It is an invitation to rediscover the music and measure the immense talent of an artist who never ceased to question the boundaries of jazz. A wish to better understand the man’s complexity as well as his music genius and mystery, a man who forged his own image throughout his lifetime.


The exhibition itself is divided into thematic sequences arranged chronologically and presenting numerous artifacts, many of which are presented to the public for the first time: rare or previously unscreened footage, original manuscript scores, an exceptional ensemble of trumpets and instruments his fellow-musicians played, original documents reltating to his albums, stage costumes, vintage pressings of his records, as well as numerous pictures taken by the greatest photographers. The exhibition also displays works of art that bear witness to Miles Davis’s aura beyond the mere sphere of music.


Entirely designed to facilitate the appreciation of sound and ease of listening, this exhibit pays homage to the music by displaying several “mutes” throughout. These so-called mutes – coined in reference to the very particular sound Miles Davis obtained from such devices – are oval-shaped spaces; small listening rooms designed to allow the public to discover the artist’s emblematic works in optimal conditions. This is one exhibit definitively keeps Miles’ legacy alive for generations to come. Learn more about this exhibit and read more about the different exhibits here.


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