Yeah, like I'm going to write a comprehensive overview of Miles Davis' legacy in a blog post. The guy went through so many phases that you could write a whole book on any one of those periods (recommended: Phil Freeman's Running The Voodoo Down on Miles's electric period). So I'm going to stick to a few words about the albums I have, thanks. I do want to mention how much I like, as a non-horn player, that Miles played the trumpet, the brassiest and most declarative of popular horns. Where saxophones and sax players tend to expound in million-note expressions, being the Modernists of horn players, Miles used the trumpet for short bursts of profundity like a Zen master of jazz. Dizzy Gillespie is the only other major trumpet player I can think of, and Dizzy tended to go for longer note-flurries. But Dizzy also left a lot of room in his sound, and Miles expanded that same sense of space to incredible effect. Miles was also a genius at assembling sidemen. To most effectively play the part of cool, removed Zen master, he needed a band around him that would generate incredible heat and light, and he almost always achieved that.
A Tribute To Jack Johnson (recorded 1970, released 1971) and The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (recorded 1970). My other favorite Miles album is A Tribute To Jack Johnson, which is the most heavily spliced album in Miles' catalog, pulling together chunks of music from many different sessions and ideas, along with a small portion of "Shhh/Peaceful" from In A Silent Way. Where Silent Way is introspective, Jack Johnson is aggressively funky and psychedelic. The interplay between John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock's guitars on the section called "Willie Nelson" is the closest to atonal noise that Miles ever reached, and its ugly beauty can rip your heart out. Unlike some of the other Complete box sets, The Complete Jack Johnson box is disc after disc of rough tracks. Some of the outtakes crop up on Big Fun and Live-Evil, true. But of any of the Miles box sets, this is the one that peels back the mask and delves into the wildly creative process with abandon. Awesome, in the sense that dumbstruck awe is my primary response to this music.