By Juan Rodriguez, Canwest News Service

Miles Davis wrote in his scabrous autobiography about being invited to a White House dinner in 1987. An older woman asked the not-so-modest trumpeter what he’d done to merit being there. Davis shot back, “Well, I’ve changed music five or six times.” Drum roll, please …Davis was hailed as “The Picasso of Jazz,” a phrase that Nathalie Bondil, director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, appropriated to explain the multimedia exhibition We Want Miles: Miles Davis vs. Jazz, which opens on Friday.

Like Picasso, Davis’s career was marked by distinct stylistic periods: bebop, cool, hard-bop, orchestral jazz, modal music, jazz-rock, funk and techno-funk.Famously dubbed the Prince of Darkness, as artist and man, Davis created music worthy of the overused word hypnotic. Nearly 20 years after his death, he continues to put a spell on us.

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