11 August 2008

Friday Album Cover: Cookin'

Better late than never...
Miles Davis
Cookin' with The Miles Davis Quintet

One of the many legends that arose from Miles Davis' life was the story that he would often turn his back on the crowd during a performance. This story is not so accurate; Davis often faced slightly askew from the audience in order to better communicate with his sidemen during performances. However, the story was often employed to prove one of two points, that he did not care about audiences' approval, or that while playing, he was intently focused on his music and did not want to be distracted. Though the former distorts more than it illuminates, the latter is an accurate assessment of Davis' onstage demeanor. A quick search through Google Images shows that while playing, Davis often had his gaze focused on his trumpet, as if he were trying to pull music out of his trumpet.

Miles' habit of staring at his trumpet was visually reproduced on the album cover of Cookin' with The Miles Davis Quintet. Designed by regular Blue Note contributor Reid Miles, the cover features a doodle of a trumpet seen through the eyes of Miles in mid-performance, by Phil Hayes. It's not a visually stunning piece of album art, but considering the muse, it is quite an apt piece of imagery.

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