7. September 2019
Christie’s announces a trumpet designed and played by Miles Davis, one of the most significant jazz musicians of all time, will be offered in The Exceptional Sale on October 29 in New York
The ‘Martin Committee’ Trumpet in B Flat, model T3460, by the Martin Co., was commissioned circa 1980 and features a deep blue lacquer and gilt crescent moon and stars, designed according to Davis’s specifications (estimate: $70,000-100,000). The ‘Moon and Stars’ trumpet is both a fine piece of craftsmanship and marks a crucial moment in Davis’s career, as he made his long-awaited return to music.
In a performing and recording career of almost fifty years Miles Davis produced many critically acclaimed albums and Kind of Blue, recorded in just two sessions in 1959, remains the best-selling jazz album of all time. Davis was called by some ‘the Picasso of Jazz’, for cultivating a distinctive sound while also remaining continuously hungry for new musical expression, picking up new audiences along the way.
Becky MacGuire, Sale Director, The Exceptional Sale, comments, “We are over the moon to be offering this beautiful instrument made for jazz legend Miles Davis. Miles Davis’s music has that same magical, transformative power to move us that a great masterpiece of painting or sculpture does. His iconic trumpet couldn’t be more perfect for this ‘best of the best’ auction.”
The ‘Moon and Stars’ trumpet was made by the Martin Company, which was founded in Chicago in 1865 by the German instrument-maker, Johann Heinrich Martin. Davis was particularly fond of a model called the Committee. When the Martin Company was sold to a rival manufacturer in the 1960s — and the production of Committee trumpets officially stopped — they continued to be custom-made for Davis.
Davis had a famously restless creative mind and was a visual artist as well as a musician. The Committee horn being auctioned was one of a set of three conceived at his request, one was colored red, one blue and one black — each of them decorated with a gilt moon and stars, and with the word ‘Miles’ inscribed inside the bell. The red trumpet has remained in the star’s family since his death in 1991, while the black one is buried at Davis’s side in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx near the gravesite of Duke Ellington, one of his idols. The blue ‘Moon and Stars’ trumpet offered was acquired by the present owner from the collection of musician George Benson.
Images: Courtesy of Christie’s
875 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 3810, Chicago
Christie’s New York
20 Rockefeller Plaza
The Exceptional Sale
October 29, 11am
Christie’s New York