The long-term agreement covers Miles’ entire songbook of over 250 compositions, including songs from celebrated albums like Jack Johnson, Bitches Brew, and In a Silent Way, as well as Kind of Blue — which remains the best-selling jazz record of all time. The announcement follows the recent London premiere of Miles Davis: Birth of Cool, the critically-acclaimed, Stanley Nelson-directed documentary chronicling his life.
"Miles Davis made an indelible mark on both popular music and culture," said Downtown CEO Justin Kalifowitz. "Through his exploration and expansion of the language of jazz, Miles pushed the boundaries of genre and influenced generations of artists across the musical spectrum. It’s a legitimate privilege to be trusted with the care of extraordinary works like 'So What' and 'Blue in Green' that have shaped the modern musical and cultural landscapes in such a profound way."
In addition to catalog marketing, licensing, and royalty collection, Downtown will collaborate with the Miles Davis Estate on a range of events and other special projects that highlight not only Miles’ compositions and musicianship, but also his contributions more broadly as a cultural and style icon — whose influence extends into visual art, fashion, film, and design. Using everything from tape-loops and splice edits to large format orchestration and electric instruments, Miles altered how jazz musicians approached tone, texture, and improvisation — and drew a line straight to other genres, creating bonds with rock, soul, and ultimately hip-hop that still remain.
Miles helped launch the careers of countless other legends including Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Ron Carter, Marcus Miller, Jimmy Cobb, Lenny White, and many more. He has also inspired a broad range of musicians across all genres; Dr. Dre, the Grateful Dead, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Lucinda Williams, Madlib, Mike Watt, Mos Def, Nas, Q-Tip, and Sonic Youth are just a few of the myriad artists that cite Miles Davis as a key influence on their own creative pursuits.
"We’re excited to embark on this new chapter in paying homage to the legacy of Miles Davis with Downtown Music Publishing," said Cheryl Davis, Erin Davis, and Vince Wilburn, Jr. from the Miles Davis Estate. "We are confident this move will continue to introduce the musical genius of Miles on a global scale, where his artistry can be noted by many generations to come."
With this announcement, we are unveiling a specially-created new image by Brooklyn-based illustrator Lauren Tamaki — whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and beyond. The piece above comes from a series Downtown commissioned tracing the history of the iconic Gershwin song "Summertime," with the rest of the artwork to be revealed soon.