Influenced by the Cool!

Written by on January 11, 2016


As a resident hip hop aficionado, I often, tout the boom bap genre my preferred music of choice. However, that is not all that I listen to. In fact, I listen to just about every genre of music, but country. As my UML brethren can attest, I’m stubborn when it comes to calling any artist good. Let’s not even begin to discuss the criteria for me to call an artist great.

As I’m sitting back with my feet up here in Georgia, I have ‘Bitches Brew’ playing in the background. It made me realize how much I’ve been influenced by the ‘Cool’ of Mr.  Miles Davis’ work. I’m not going to give you the rundown of his discography. If you are not a fan, I encourage you to give him a shot. What I want to do explain how I became a fan.

I was working in Human Resources and my workload was pretty heavy. Like most people, music really makes things flow better. With that said, I couldn’t play Jay Z, Nas or even Common in a cubicle setting that was less than a minute from the VP of the entire organization. I had heard of all of the jazz greats and I finally decided to see if it was all hype. I listened to everything I could get my hands on. Thank goodness for Milwaukee Public Libraries and their extensive jazz collection, I enjoyed Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie and of course Miles Davis. His music really struck a chord with me. I was drawn in by the ways he kept reinventing himself. Whether he was alone or with one of his quintets, it was a musical escapade on every album. This was my first exposure to what it meant to be #ClassiclyCool. Miles Davis’s work resonated with me like Mozart and Bach resonates with others. I even remember the smiles of colleagues and visitors as they walked past my desk as I was playing his music. Listening to ‘Kind of Blue’ motivated me as an emcee. The influence helped me smooth out my rhymes and develop more complex patterns of words to flow like the trumpet of Mr. Davis himself. I’m grateful that the curiosity of my 20’s led me to discovering his works. Now, whether I’m running five miles or driving on I-20, Miles Davis’ music makes that journey a little smoother.

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