The Miles Davis Nonet Music Library
One of my readers is Todd Selbert, a respected and valued writer/discographer. Because I mentioned it in the last posting, he asked to read the paper I wrote on the preparation of an edition of the music of the Miles Davis Nonet published by Hal Leonard. I was one of the first to examine the music that Davis had in storage for several years. When he passed, the estate liquidated the storage facility and sent the music to a colleague to appraise. As a result, I had access to the existing manuscripts of this important ensemble, and Hal Leonard obtained the rights to publish this and other Miles Davis projects.
Working on music that is so valued and treasured so that others can study and play it is a gift one gives oneself. Some pieces are straightforward, others problematic for several reasons. This journey was a fascinating one. In preparing this paper, I retraced my steps preparing it and remembered the decisions I made. As an editor of concert, pop and jazz, one expects the unexpected and makes decisions based on experience and logic. As an orchestrator and conductor, I consider what must be done so that music should always be easy to read and play and ultimately make sense.
As you will read, there was only one score extant of all the pieces I prepared, so I had to write them out from the parts. Reading a score once it is finished cannot be described. All the parts are together, and the reader finally gets to see and hear internally what the composer/arranger conceived. I explain to students that it is like a private dialogue between the writer and the reader. No microphones to get in the way.
I felt that if Mr. Selbert was interested in reading this paper that I would share it with all of you. The link is:
You can download it as a PDF. It has been cited a number of times, and has a DOI number for those who would wish to do this, since it was published online.
Once again, I would like to thank Bill Kirchner for putting me in contact with the lawyer who facilitated this volume actually being prepared and published. Bill has been a wonderful friend for many years. He is a marvelous saxophonist/arranger, and has a new CD, which I will write about in the near future.
You should also know that Jazzlines Publications published performing edtions of many of the pieces in the volume, which allowed me to further edit and clean them up.