Night Lights Classic Jazz

Miles Davis: the Jack Johnson Sessions

Miles Davis Jack JohnsonKen Burns’ new documentary about Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion, is not the first film about the boxer; in 1970 William Cayton made a documentary as well, with a soundtrack by Miles Davis. This edition of Night Lights features music taken from the Sony/Legacy box-set MILES DAVIS: THE COMPLETE JACK JOHNSON SESSIONS, including recordings done from February to June of 1970. Musicians appearing here range from John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham to Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. Although BITCHES’ BREW remains the best-known of Miles’ “fusion” or jazz-rock dates, some critics now contend that THE JACK JOHNSON SESSIONS more suitably represent the fruition of Davis’ stylistic evolution in this regard.

More information on both the Jack Johnson sessions and Davis’ own interest in boxing can be found here.In addition, there is an online interview with Michael Cuscuna and Bob Belden, co-producers of the Legacy set, which sheds some light on Teo Macero’s editing methods.

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)

Notes: Opening theme.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Nem Um Talvez
Miles Davis — Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Legacy, 1970)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Duran
Miles Davis — Comp. Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Legacy, 1970)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Right Off
Miles Davis — Comp. Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia/Legacy, 1970)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Little High People
Miles Davis — Comp. Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Legacy, 1970)

Notes: break music

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Yesternow
Miles Davis — Comp. Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Legacy, 1970)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Honky Tonk
Miles Davis — Comp. Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Legacy, 1970)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Ali
Miles Davis — Comp. Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Legacy, 1970)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Night Lights Classic Jazz:

Support For Indiana Public Media From

About Night Lights

Search Night Lights

where to hear night lights

This Week On Afterglow

Mark Murphy: The Muse Years

the cover of Mark Murphy's LP BRIDGING A GAP.

In the early 1970s singer Mark Murphy returned from Europe and began a 20-year run of some of the most artistically successful records of his career.

Read more »

Afterglow is WFIU's weekly program of jazz and American popular song hosted by David Brent Johnson.

More from Afterglow »