Miles Davis’ Entire Discography Presented in a Stylish Interactive Visualization

Miles Discographic

Peo­ple can, and do, spend life­times track­ing down and cat­a­logu­ing all of the var­i­ous releas­es of their favorite bands—studio, stage, boot­leg, and oth­er­wise. Cer­tain groups—the Grate­ful Dead, nat­u­ral­ly (hear 9,000 Dead shows here)—encour­age this more than oth­ers. And if a rock band can send com­pletists on life­long scav­enger hunts, how much more so a pro­lif­ic jazz artist such as, say, Miles Davis? Like the musi­cal form itself, jazz artists are mer­cu­r­ial by nature, spend­ing years as jour­ney­men for any num­ber of oth­er band­lead­ers before break­ing off to form their own quar­tets, quin­tets, sex­tets, etc. Add to the pro­fu­sion of dif­fer­ent groups the ten­den­cy of jazz play­ers to record the same songs—but nev­er in the same way—dozens, hun­dreds, of times, and you’ve got discogra­phies that num­ber well into dou­ble-dig­it page lengths.

Miles Discographic 1

That’s the sit­u­a­tion with Miles, for sure—even the most stud­ied of his col­lec­tors couldn’t pos­si­bly call to mind all of his immense cat­a­log with­out some handy ref­er­ence guide. Per­haps “Scaled in Miles” can help. Con­dens­ing an incred­i­ble amount of musi­cal his­to­ry into a very con­cise and attrac­tive form, “Scaled in Miles,” as it’s called—a huge online inter­ac­tive discog­ra­phy—“tries to make sense of Davis’s sto­ried career by visu­al­iz­ing each of the 577 artists he col­lab­o­rat­ed with over 405 record­ing ses­sions.” That descrip­tion comes from Fast Com­pa­ny, who fea­ture a few close-ups of the relat­ed “Scaled in Miles” poster, which they describe as resem­bling NASA’s “Gold­en Record.” The inter­ac­tive visu­al­iza­tion allows you to lis­ten to the tunes as you learn the musi­cians who cre­at­ed them and the wheres and whens of their record­ings.

MIles Discographic 2

Some­thing about Miles’ music lends itself par­tic­u­lar­ly well, I have to say, to the very stream­lined, clean design of this impres­sive catalog’s online inter­face. Were some­one enter­pris­ing enough to make one for the Grate­ful Dead, I’m guess­ing it would look less like a gold­en record in space and more like anoth­er, messier kind of spaced-out voy­age. That’s not to sug­gest that Davis and the Dead have lit­tle in com­mon but their vast record­ed out­put. They did, after all, once share a stage at the Fill­more West in 1970. No need to go dig­ging in the vaults to find that one; see the per­son­nel from that night at the top of the post and stream the whole thing right here.

Miles Discographic 3

via Moses Hawk

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Miles Davis Sto­ry, the Defin­i­tive Film Biog­ra­phy of a Jazz Leg­end

Miles Davis Plays Music from Kind of Blue Live in 1959, Intro­duc­ing a Com­plete­ly New Style of Jazz

The Night When Miles Davis Opened for the Grate­ful Dead in 1970: Hear the Com­plete Record­ings

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.