Miles Davis’s first studio album released on Colombia records rather than Prestige, “Round About Midnight,” met some criticism for not recapturing the magic of the Prestige era records. A “sellout” record of sorts, the album’s criticisms were often short-lived as, in hindsight, the album captured Davis and his band at the top of their game in a new recording space. It’s been called the quintessential hard-bop album and one of his more essential releases pre-fusion.
Whether true or urban legend, Miles Davis's conversation with a politician's wife at a White House dinner summed up his impact well. She asked him if he felt jazz got enough credit. To which he responded, “Jazz is ignored [in the United States] because the white man likes to win everything.” She followed up by saying, “Well, what have you done that’s so important in your life? Why are you here?” And as the legend goes, Miles said, “Well, I changed music five or six times, so I guess that’s what I’ve done [...] Now, tell me, what have you done of any importance other than being white?”
Perhaps one of the most important music figures of the 20th century, Davis produced a vast catelogue of groundbreaking jazz from modal to fusion. He pushed the genre into its uppermost limits as the world of popular music passed the genre by in favor of rock & roll. Ironically, Davis’s innovative spirit didn’t just influence the trajectory of jazz but bled over into genres like rock & roll while also laying the groundwork for hip-hop and EDM.