Why couldn’t it happen here? Eh? (O2 Music Experience take note)….
In the last two weeks before it closed on Sunday, 20,000 people have been to the “We Want Miles” exhibition at the Cite de La Musique in Paris. The queue to enter was at times up to two hours long. 75,000 people saw it in the three months it was open. I understand that’s more than for previous exhibitions dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and John Lennon. (Hat-tip to Bruno P for the numbers).
This exhibition was the second show about jazz in Paris in less than nine months, following hard on the heels of “Le Siecle du Jazz” art exhibition.
I went a couple of weeks before the end and it took me two and a half hours to get round it. People of all ages were quetly making there way through. A mother was explaining pointing at a flugelhorn and getting both her daughters to repeat “Un. Bugle.” One whole family was huddled together on the floor watching a sequence from Porgy and Bess.
“We Want Miles” was a far-reaching and major retrospective of Miles’ career. It gave a rounded portrait of the man and of the music, starting with images of the St Louis hurricane, and culminating in a final room showing extensive video footage from a concert at La Villette- the site of the exhibition- with a band including Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter just a few weeks before Miles’ death in 1991. It threw extensive light on Miles’ personality and way of operating, on the ups and downs of his life.
It also extended its gaze to many other musicians and collaborators. The massive influence on the recorded output, for example, of producer Teo Macero, who died in 2008, was particularly in evidence, with extracts from a forthcoming documentary Play That, Teo by Olana DiGirolamo, for release later in the year.
The exhibition now moves to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal where it will be from 30th April to 29th August.
A Trinity Laban/ British Music Experience co-production? You read it here first.