Program Details

Celebrating the Best Miles Davis Recordings of the 1950s and 1960s

Mark Gridley
Music / History

Course Description

The eminent jazz historian Mark Gridley will highlight four different jazz styles that were introduced by trumpeter Miles Davis, the most important bandleader of the past sixty years. The course will be organized according to the composer-arrangers he hired: Gil Evans, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul. Analyses of their contributions will draw upon interviews that Dr. Gridley conducted with the participants of those historic recording sessions. In-depth listening will be the primary mode of instruction.


  1. Gil Evans’ arrangements on "Moon Dreams," "Miles Ahead," "Porgy and Bess" and "Sketches of Spain."
  2. Analysis of "Kind of Blue," which is the most frequently cited desert-island choice of jazz fans. Lecture-demonstration details will be drawn from Dr. Gridley’s interview with its pianist Bill Evans.
  3. Analysis of "Prince of Darkness" and "Masqualero" according to details obtained by Dr. Gridley’s interviews with participants Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
  4. Analysis of "In a Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew," the first jazz-rock fusion albums and the contributions of composer-pianist Joe Zawinul according to Gridley’s interviews with him.

About the Instructor

  • Mark C. Gridley, Ph.D., is a professional jazz saxophonist-flutist-bandleader who taught jazz history and appreciation at Case Western Reserve University, where he developed America's most widely used introductions to jazz: "Jazz Styles: History and Analysis and its abridged edition, Concise Guide to Jazz," (Prentice-Hall). His books have been translated into six foreign languages. His articles appear in numerous academic musicology journals as well as Groves Dictionaries of Music and Encyclopaedia Britannica. Gridley has been honored by the Educational Press Association of America’s Distinguished Achievement Award, and he is listed in "Marquis Who’s Who in America."