Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, and the Invention of Post Bop

Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, and the Invention of Post Bop

Jeremy Yudkin
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/07/2007
Format: Paperback 2 b&w illus., 23 music exx.
ISBN: 978-0-253-21952-7
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Focusing on one of the legendary musicians in jazz, this book examines Miles Davis's often overlooked music of the mid-1960s with a close examination of the evolution of a new style: post bop. Jeremy Yudkin traces Davis's life and work during a period when the trumpeter was struggling with personal and musical challenges only to emerge once again as the artistic leader of his generation.

A major force in post-war American jazz, Miles Davis was a pioneer of cool jazz, hard bop, and modal jazz in a variety of small group formats. The formation in the mid-1960s of the Second Quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams was vital to the invention of the new post bop style. Yudkin illustrates and precisely defines this style with an analysis of the 1966 classic Miles Smiles.

Author Bio

Jeremy Yudkin is professor of music at the College of Fine Arts and associated faculty of the Department of African American Studies at Boston University and Visiting Professor of Music at Oxford University.


“Examines a vitally creative period in the life of a legendary jazz musician and traces the evolution of a new style: post bop.”

“It will make a fine addition to the still small number of solid musical studies of jazz, as begun by scholars like Gunther Schuller, Mark Tucker, and Lewis Porter.”
 — John J. Joyce, Associate Professor of Music, Tulane University

“This book combines serious historical research with penetrating analysis of the music and a generous portion of musical examples. . . . Jeremy Yudkin has made an excellent contribution to jazz literature.”
 — Larry Dwyer, Director of Jazz Studies, University of Notre Dame

“In his thoughtful new book, Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, and the Invention of Post Bop. . . , Boston University music professor Jeremy Yudkin reconsiders one of Davis's lesser known albums, [Miles Smiles], and argues that it constitutes a new direction for Davis as well as the mark of Davis' creation of the style of post-bop music.”
 — ForeWord

“. . .one of the best Miles Davis books. . .”
 — David Rickert,

“Yudkin does a fantastic job of managing the various elements of music and personality in his work, and in so doing, he evaluates the previous work of Davis and the fusion of his later pieces while focusing on the moments in life that drove Davis into the wide open spaces of creative ingenuity. A thorough analysis of the 1966 classic 'Miles Smiles' is complimented by Yudkin’s ability to use schematics and sheet music snapshots in order to analyze the changes and revelations of the new form versus the earlier roads traveled. With stunning clarity, this work introduces the reader to the intricate details that exist beneath the sound coming from speakers.”
 — Metro Spirit

“A thoughtful exploration . . . Highly recommended.”
 — Wisconsin Bookwatch

“. . . the author writes convincingly about the actual music, as well as its surrounding circumstances. . . . this book should be widely welcomed and especially recommended to readers interested in the nuts and bolts of the music.July 2008”
 — Brian Priestley, Jazzwise

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Table of Contents


1. Miles Smiles?
2. Birth
3. Groove
4. Voice
5. Kind of Blue
6. "There Is No Justice"
7. Not Happening
8. The Second Quintet
9. The Album Miles Smiles, Side 1
10. The Album Miles Smiles, Side 2
Conclusion: Miles Does Smile