Worn Free Launches New Miles Davis T-Shirt Line

Los Angeles based apparel company Worn Free, known for its vintage original tees, have announced the launch of their new Miles Davis t-shirt line. The shirts and sweatshirts come in eight different unique designs celebrating the late jazz trumpeter’s legacy.

Miles Davis was a force in the jazz world and his contributions to music are still felt today. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. His career spanned over five decades and saw him perform with the likes of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane as well as now legendary artists including pianists Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, saxophonist Kenny Garrett and guitarist John Scofield, just to name a few.

Worn Free’s Steven Coe said, “As a huge fan of Miles Davis personally this is one of the rewarding projects that I have created for Worn Free. Miles’s family have truly been a joy to work with and have given me a lot of creative freedom and encouragement throughout this process.” Coe continued, “Miles is such an inspiration that the hardest thing has been narrowing down the designs, we have some great shirts in this first offering and many more exciting surprises to come.”

Miles Davis is noted for his fearless and restless leaps in music. His 1959 album Kind of Blue is the best-selling jazz album of all time and introduced modal improvisation and just over ten years later in 1970 Miles created jazz and rock fusion with his epic effort Bitches Brew. In his later years, he infused hip-hop into his music working with Easy Mo Bee on his posthumous 1992 album Doo Bop.

Miles Davis passed away back on Sept. 28, 1991 and his music is as relevant today as it was when it was breaking down musical barriers in the ’50s and ’60s. His likeness is featured on a U.S. Postage stamp, which has sold more than 23 million copies to date. Over the summer, he was also honored with a New York city Street re-naming of West 77th Street to “Miles Davis Way,” to honor his former place of residency. He is the only jazz artist to ever be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Miles Davis t-shirt line is priced at $35 – $50 and is available exclusively here. Shirts include some classic Davis quotes including “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there” and “Don’t fear mistakes, there are none.”

Brand (Un)Awareness: Official Miles Davis Website Still Underwhelms

The news of the Miles Davis Movie starring and directed by Don Cheadle finally getting the green light – after years and years of development hell – is a few months old. And yet, this news, big news in the world of Miles Davis, is not mentioned anywhere on the official Miles Davis website.

This strikes me as odd.

If one is to believe MilesDavis.com is the online hub for the brand, then it would seem that the official site should be exploding with excitement that the film project is moving forward.

A project, let’s not forget, with the full backing from the Miles Davis Estate – more specifically, Davis’ three heirs who oversee all business matters related to the jazz legend: his son Erin, his daughter, Cheryl, and their cousin Vince Wilburn Jr.

So why the disconnect? Not even a link to a news story – and there were plenty of news stories about the Miles Davis Movie, known as “Kill the Trumpet Player”, finally getting the go-ahead.

Even if the official website is managed by Sony, why not have info posted on the homepage?

The truth is that while MilesDavis.com is a serviceable official website, it’s really not that good – or particularly useful. It’s greatest attribute is that it features the most desirable of the Miles Davis web domain names. It ranks #1 on Google for ‘Miles Davis’, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

But it is not an all-encompassing online hub, which is something we try to be around here at Miles Davis Online. But MilesDavis.com has the estate support, and Sony and the vaults and lord knows what else, so it’s upsetting to think how mediocre the website is when it could be something terrific.

Kobalt Music Group just signed a huge deal with the estate to administer the entire catalog of the late jazz icon.

Key line: “Kobalt… aims to “develop new creative opportunities” as well as tap Davis’ works for use in films, television, advertising and other media.”

One can only hope “other media” includes the world wide web.

I have gone on ad neaseum about all the cool entertainment and business opportunities that can be built for a robust official website. (A Miles Davis iPhone App Would Be Nice)

There is terrific opportunity to be creative and produce engaging content, while generating revenue. It could be a win-win for all.

But for some reason the ‘Internet’ side of the Miles Davis Business is shoved off to the side – at least right now.

I have zero info as to what is really going on behind the scenes, but the official website has not been good for a long long time, so it’s not as if this is a new issue. Becasue I want it to be so good, so much a true portal for ‘All Things Miles Davis’, that I get over-excited about the situation.

Miles Davis Online has been around for a lot of years now, and I have worked hard to create a smart, creative web endeavor focused on Miles Davis.

I can only dream about the possibilities if I had the incredible resources of the Miles Davis Estate, along with the music labels, to produce a truly spectacular ‘official’ website.

Becasue the official website resides with Sony, there is no ‘voice’ associated with the product. It is merely an adequate, corporate website for Miles Davis. There’s no passion baked in. It’s just a basic set-up that’s been outdated for years now. They have produced some cool design contests and other interactive projects – but the website overall (usability, design, functionality) is just not where it needs to be.

I don’t think that’s good enough, not with an iconic, worldwide brand such as Miles Davis.

It does not need to be something extravagant. No one expects the Wall Street Journal of official websites, but there is most definitely a better strategy for building a solid brand online for Miles Davis.

Onward and upward.

The Miles Davis Movie: Don Cheadle Has Something To Say About the Miles Davis Movie

This is via Don Cheadle’s Twitter page:

Miles Davis flick is on. But I hate the word biopic like Miles hated the word jazz. It’s misleading. Not attempting to tell his life story.

Cheadle’s intent not to produce a traditional biopic has been well-known for some years. Regardless of what I, or anyone else, thinks of the actor’s unconventional narrative he’s designed for the film, the most important part is that at some point we will get to see Miles Davis portrayed on screen – and that is exciting.

Here is the plot:

After his record label steals his comeback album before he’s ready for it to be heard, Miles Davis hunts it down with a journalist and a junkie jazz musician.

That could very well be the makings of a fun night at the movie theater. Or not. No doubt there will be plenty of opinions on Cheadle’s ‘cubist’ take on a film about the jazz legend.

But I wonder, with Cheadle doing his best not to tell the life story of Miles Davis, is it possible for someone else to attempt such a cinematic endeavor?

I have always felt that a blowout-the-budget, three or four-part documentary (film or TV) could do the trick. There have been Miles Davis documentaries previous, but I mean a really big, Ken Burns-style production.

I’m looking forward to see what Cheadle has in store for his directorial debut. But I’d still love to see a biopic about Miles Davis in the same style as Ray or Walk the Line. Maybe a Miles Davis film generated by a Hollywood studio just wouldn’t cut it. Maybe it’s too hard to sell to the general public. Who knows? But for now, we will see what Cheadle has for us, plus the Miles Davis movie from director George Tillman Jr. (based on the book “Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis”, written by Gregory Davis).

I’m going to be very interested to see how they market this film. Obviously you have the icon Miles Davis as the focus, plus a talented actor such as Cheadle starring in and directing the project. But it’s a quirky plot. But it might have an immense amount of ‘cool’ to go with it, something that usually follows around a Tarantino film when it arrives on screen.

In the short-term, congratulations to Cheadle and Co. for finally getting the project over the finish line. This project has been percolating for a long time. I started following back in 2007, when Cheadle jumped aboard. I have spilled a lot of digital ink about this project, most of it fun conjecture about who should play who, what scenes needs to be included, and just about anything you can think of related to a movie project that was short of actual news and had become a Hall of Fame member of Development Hell.

I have enjoyed following the project from the start, and I will continue to chronicle the film as the cameras start rolling.

The best is yet to come…..

The Business of Miles Davis: Building the Brand for A New Generation, But A Digital Plan Remains Elusive

blue-kind-of Making Sure Miles Stays Forever Young is a very good article in the Sunday New York Times about the business of Miles Davis and how the estate is working to keep the brand going strong for a new generation of fans.

But something is missing.

Amid all the conversation in the article about collaborating with hip-hop artists, the Don Cheadle biopic, the museum exhibition, and the Lord only knows how much music remains in the vaults, there was not a single mention of the Internet, not a word about digital strategy, or even if a digital strategy exists.

“We’re talking to everybody, because we’re involved in growing and promoting and exposure,” Erin Davis said during a long joint interview late last month at the office of the heirs’ publicists here. “It’s taken me 20 years to realize what we’re doing and how it affects the future.”

I can only hope that “talking to everybody” includes digital media folks.

For the brand to truly develop and continue to remain strong down the road then there must be an aggressive digital drive, a creative plan to embrace the new digital landscape.

This might be happening. But it surely wasn’t mentioned in the NY Times article.

Davis’ three heirs who manage the estate – his son Erin, his daughter, Cheryl, and their cousin Vince Wilburn Jr. – have done a masterful job with the re-releases and pushing the brand into new areas, but there continues be a disconnect between the Miles Davis brand and digital media.

There was a time when the estate owned and operated MilesDavis.com. Then they handed over the management to Sony. I think this was a big mistake.

Sony handles plenty of artists’ websites, and MilesDavis.com isn’t so terrible. But it’s just another official website, nothing special, nothing to get excited about. It’s nothing to keep a Miles Davis fan coming back for more. MilesDavis.com doesn’t need to be Elvis.com, which you must admit is terrific for Elvis Presley fans, but it should absolutely be the hub for the Miles Davis brand online.

MilesDavis.com should be the definitive digital platform for All Things Miles Davis. It’s not. At least not right now.

If anything, Miles Davis Online is the place for All Things Miles Davis, even if we are just a simple Blog without any of the resources and access. But we’re trying hard – and have been since 2007.

I firmly believe MilesDavis.com could deliver endless entertainment for fans, plus provide numerous advertising/sponsorship opportunities to actually drive a profit online.

They could be streaming concerts. They could sell exclusive mp3s. The could put a greater emphasis on multimedia. Why not release a collection of rare tracks online-only? How about unseen photos? How about an online auction for charity?

Where is the awesome Miles Davis App?

We produced an Artist Series on Miles Davis Online to feature designers, photographers, painters, etc. who have incorporated Miles Davis into their work.

It’s easy for me to make suggestions. No doubt there are legal/rights/other issues to deal with when working with so much content from various sources. But still, the opportunity for a first-rate digital strategy is not out of reach.

To keep the Miles Davis strong, and ready for the next generation to discover and enjoy, digital media is where this endeavor needs to happen. Sure, collaborations with hip-hop artists has some appeal, and might lead to something interesting, but it seems like a short-term play. I like Questlove of the Roots, but I, personally, have zero interest in hearing a collaboration between he and Miles Davis. But that’s just me. I’m a little older, so I would rather have access to unseen photos, hear rare studio tracks, etc…

It’s clear the estate have a big box of ideas. And they have mentioned in the past that they get offers all the time – many not so good. So I applaud the careful approach the trio takes in building the brand.

But with no robust digital strategy, the brand is left to play catch-up online.

With Sony managing the ‘official website’ it’s unclear how much input the estate has in content, etc. But there is no doubt a void.

The Miles Davis Biopic is a project that’s been in development a long time (with blessings from the estate), but there is no mention on the official website. Is that odd? I think so.

Currently Don Cheadle (set to star and direct) is at AFM trying to get the project a deal, but the article has this:

Ms. Davis said that they have been in discussions with the actor and producer Don Cheadle about a biopic — Mr. Cheadle would star and direct — but that “some questions remain.”

In discussions? Cheadle has been linked to the project since 2007! To read that quote is to believe the idea of the movie project was just thought of a few weeks ago.

What discussions could they be having? Maybe they aren’t sold on Cheadle’s quirky plot for the non-biopic. Cheadle has already said filming is set for next summer. The whole point of having the estate involved is to have access to the music. That is the key to the entire movie. Does anyone want to see a movie about Miles Davis and not hear at least a few classic tunes? Anyone can make a movie about Miles Davis. But not everyone can have the rights to the music.

But back to digital strategy. If and when this biopic gets going, is there going to be a synergy between the official website and the film? There should be. I have already written plenty about how the movie can generate even more buzz via the web.

“Thank goodness, we all get along, that we’re on the same page, so that there can be movement,” Mr. Wilburn said. “You can’t get locked into one thing. You’ve got to keep it fresh. Hey, this is global, this is Miles Davis.

Miles Davis is global. But the brand needs a strong digital strategy to properly link the worldwide audience of Miles Davis fans, new and old, together.

Many of the releases in recent years, including Monday’s, seem aimed at completists and other longtime fans. The bigger test is the casual listener, especially a new generation that may be only vaguely aware of Davis.

That “new generation” is online, on tablets, and on a mobile phone.

The Miles Davis Movie: Zoe Saldana, Ewan McGregor In Talks To Join Kill The Trumpet Player; Deal Close

42-17363833 Don Cheadle has yet to tweet anything about it, but actual news is flying around out there on the ‘net that Zoe Saldana and Ewan McGregor are in talks to join Kill The Trumpet Player, the kooky name given to the Miles Davis Movie project.

For the longest time Antoine Fuqua was set to direct – replacing Cheadle. But now it seems that Cheadle is back in the director’s chair.

The Fuqua news was never officially announced, but his IMDB page did list the project, so clearly he was on board.

But no more.

Don is now going to star and direct, just as he set out to when he signed on to this movie project back in 2007.

Daniel Wagner’s Beverly Hills-based BiFrost Pictures is fully financing. UTA packaged the project and represents US rights.

Herbie Hancock was announced as music supervisor back in 2010, but now he is also an executive producer on the film.

I have been tracking the Miles Davis Movie since 2007. It should come as no surprise that this flurry of (good) news has me smiling.

I have been critical in the past of Cheadle’s decision to bypass a cradle-to-grave blueprint for something he has described as “cubist” – but nevertheless, any film about the jazz legend that can actually get made is a reason to celebrate.

Check the Biopic section of Miles Davis Online for six years of news, ideas, opinions and all sorts of fun babble related to the Miles Davis Movie.

Link: ScreenDaily

The Miles Davis Movie: The Latest News & Updates

200px-porgy_and_bess_miles_davis Happy 2013! All the latest and greatest news about Miles Davis and the Miles Davis Movie (that seems to be titled Kill the Trumpet Player) is happening over at MilesDavisOnline.com.

In the meantime, here are some posts about the Miles Davis Film you might have missed!

Don Cheadle On Miles Davis Biopic: “We’re Not Letting Go”

What Is The Number One Obstacle Facing The Project?

Don Cheadle Still Playing Trumpet, A Good Sign For The Miles Davis Movie

And The Film Title Is… “Kill The Trumpet Player”

Is There An Exit Plan For Don Cheadle?

Miles Davis | Around The Web

bilde A Weekly Round-Up Of Miles Davis News & Notes

Reconsidering all that jazz, perks of Miles Davis [The Villanovan]

Second Edition of Miles Davis Bootlegs Series to Be Released [JamBands.com]

Miles Davis – Quintet 1965-68 [Hard Format]

Now Miles Davis [This Isn’t Happiness]

Writing with Miles Davis [ny times]

Miles Davis Kind of Blue, the Final Upgrade [London Jazz Collector]

Jazz for Dabblers: Miles Davis vs. Louis Armstrong [cbc music]

Miles Davis | Around The Web

A Weekly Round-Up Of Miles Davis News & Notes

Bill Cosby on Miles Davis [austin chronicle]

Legendary Artists Such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and John Lee Hooker Now Available via Rumblefish for Use in Online User-Generated Videos [broadcast newsroom]

If Miles Davis’s mid-century trumpet solos can be described by a single phrase, it might be “doing more with less.” [ny times]

Miles Davis: Died On This Day In 1991

Miles Davis | Around The Web

A Weekly Round-Up Of Miles Davis News & Notes

“Bags’ Groove” is the name of an album Miles Davis recorded in 1954 with a group of stellar musicians. It’s also the name of a track from that album – well, two tracks really, as they recorded it twice and released both versions. [elder music / times goes by]

Plans for Davis Statue Moving Forward [alton daily news]

Miles Davis Hated Everything [kotaku]

Video: The door that impersonates Miles Davis [the strut]

The Gunslinger Guide to Miles Davis #7 [If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,
There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats

“Miles was in retirement for the second half of the seventies, from about 1975 to 1981. In 1981, I got a call from him saying that he was going back into the studio, which was a big surprise to me. I had heard rumors that he was thinking about making a comeback, but you never know whether or not to believe rumors.

The next thing I knew, I was on the phone with him and he was asking me if I could come into the studio in a couple of hours. So I ran to his studio and the next thing you know, I was working with Miles Davis. He asked me to be in his band and, of course, I said yes.” [Interview with Marcus Miller via Huffington Post]

Miles Davis | Around The Web

A Weekly Round-Up Of Miles Davis News & Notes

The Time Miles Davis Stole (or Borrowed) a Song—and How It Ended Up on His Tombstone [The Atlantic]

Down Beat Magazine interviewed Miles Davis in 1964 and asked him for his opinion on some music via a blind listening test, and checked his ability to pick out other musicians based on the way they played. [Noise Made Me Do It]

Jazz great Miles Davis loved his little Italian cars, but his reckless side took over one day and he crashed the car while carrying a few bags of white powder. Director and car collector James Glickenhaus just happened to be driving along the same stretch of road and jumped out to help. [Jalopnik]

Miles Davis dug my singing. He liked some of my songs. I recorded two vocals with him, and he recorded those two, and the aforementioned “Devil May Care.” He did an instrumental, and he commissioned me to write a Christmas song, which I did, called “Blue Xmas.” It was a satirical Christmas song, and we recorded it on Columbia with some other Columbia artists. [Houston Press]

And even though no one will confirm it…. Antoine Fuqua Is Still Going To Direct The Biopic [Miles Davis Online – Oh Yeah!]

The Miles Davis Online Interview: Jorge Armando

(Artist Series II, Volume 3)

Part two of the Artist Series is moving right along with the latest installment – illustrator Jorge Armando. Anyone who blends 3D technology with an illustration of Miles Davis is going to get my attention. And the talented Armando did just that. The original – and quite awesome – design is above. The 3D version, below, requires those fun glasses!

Currently in the process of getting his Master’s in Art and design at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) in Mexico City, Armando features a ton of great designs and illustrations on his official blog. The Frank Zappa and James Brown are also personal favorites.

I recently had a chance to speak with Jorge about his artwork and Miles Davis. Also, his choice for Favorite Miles Davis Album is a first for the Artist Series, and a nice change of pace!

Miles Davis Online: Your “Miles Davis” digital artwork is fantastic! What exactly is the creative process behind this type of digital artwork? How long does it take you to complete?
Jorge Armando: In this kind of illustration the process consists of the fusion of traditional technical concepts employing digital tools. I made this image in particularly for my own pleasure, using a good prototype, a photo with the expression of energy characteristic of Miles Davis performances.

The original image was made in one day, and the 3-D remake in one afternoon.

Miles Davis Online: Why Miles Davis? What was the reason you decided to create a design of the jazz legend?
Jorge Armando: It’s really simple, I think Miles Davis is the most important musician in the history of jazz, and accompany with John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, Robert Fripp – especially in his work with King Crimson -, Herbert Von Karajan, Silvestre Revueltas, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Igor Stravisky are the most important musicians of the 20th century.

Miles Davis Online: I see that the design is now in 3D! How does that work? Do we need special glasses?
Jorge Armando: This technique is named anaglyph 3-d, and yes, you need the conventional 3-D glasses.

Miles Davis Online: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Jorge Armando: Don’t think of myself like like an artist -yet-, though I studied design and define my self as illustrator…, a specialist between philosophy, science and art.

I’m still in the process of constructing my style, to consist in the fusion of canon and shapeless; when my work arrives to that goal my images could be seen in an artistic way, not just aesthetic or communicative objects.

Miles Davis Online: Are you working on anything special at the moment?
Jorge Armando: Actually I’m doing my Master in Arts and Design in Academia de San Carlos at UNAM’s — for that reason most of my images and texts that I produce since a year is directed to use for my Master’s final work or thesis, that is about politics, cartoons and the creator problem’s in the present.

You can see this here.

Miles Davis Online: Favorite Miles Davis album?
Jorge Armando: Dark Magus

© Jorge Armando. All artwork, and images of artwork are property of Jorge Armando. All rights reserved.

Miles Davis | Around The Web

A Weekly Round-Up Of Miles Davis News & Notes

That Miles Davis stamp is almost here. Big events set for NYC and LA. [LA Times]

Miles Davis did not win St. Louis Magazine’s Best St. Louis Musician of All Time bracket. The jazz legend lost to Chuck Berry, a legend himself, in the championship final. [stlmag.com]

Guitarist Pete Cosey has passed. He played with Miles Davis in his early-‘70s psychedelic period, lending his skills to albums like Get Up with It, Dark Magus, Agharta and Pangaea. [tinymixtapes.com]

The Chateau Laurier Hotel has hosted more than 15 million people since 1912. Miles Davis was one of those people. [Ottawa Citizen]

Once again…there will be no Broadway play about Miles Davis – so says Don Cheadle. [@IamDonCheadle]

Miles Davis | Around The Web

A Weekly Round-Up Of Miles Davis News & Notes

1. Rats on cocaine love Miles Davis, and other dumb animal research paid for with tax dollars

The research found that sober rats don’t really like music that much. After the silence, the rats liked Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” more than Miles Davis’s iconic jazz tune “Four.” But when the rats were given doses of cocaine, their tasted shifted and they gravitated toward the jazz. [nydailynews.com]

2. Miles Davis and Steve McQueen

Undeniably simple, undeniably cool. [Tomorrow Started]

3. Hidden Gems: Miles Davis’ “Dark Magus”

There are loud peaks and quiet valleys on Dark Magus, but there’s always something going on. [Magnet Magazine]

4. Brazilian jazz sorcerer incorporates range of instruments

Slowly but surely, Hermeto Pascoal gained fame in his native Brazil by releasing several albums, according to the Hopkins Center’s program notes. His big break, however, came in 1971 when he appeared on Miles Davis’ album “Live Evil.” To this day, Pascoal reveres Davis as a godlike figure.

“Miles Davis is an eternal human being — he was and is,” Pascoal said. [The Dartmouth]

5. A Hidden Gem on the Greatest Jazz Album of All Time

Anyway, blah blah jazz blah. I want to tell you about the hidden gem of Kind of Blue, the track that I used to never, ever listen to, but is now my favorite. I’m talking about the last track on the album, “Flamenco Sketches.” [kotaku.com]

Miles Davis Online Celebrates Debut Collection Of Artist Series

Since debuting Miles Davis Online in 2009, I have featured 20 extremely talented people in the Artist Series. It has been an absolute joy discovering these artists, exploring their terrific work, and getting to know them as well. The opportunity to showcase their Miles Davis-inspired artwork and photographs has been a great pleasure of mine. Their work certainly makes this place look a lot better!

I look back at the photographs, designs, and paintings, and I marvel at the talent. It’s inspiring. Of course I only focused on the Miles Davis artwork, but these photographers, designers, and painters each have collections that are well-worth visiting online at their official websites.

I’m excited to begin the next volume of artist interviews, which kicks off next week. I will continue my search for artwork inspired by Miles Davis – abstract, portrait, photographs, pencil sketches, and whatever else is out there being created by talented individuals who are artistic… and just so happen to have a love for Miles Davis.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to be part of the first volume in the Artist Series. Discovering your work has been a special treat.

Miles Davis Online Artist Series: Volume 1-20

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