Milestones (instrumental composition)

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Composition by Miles Davis
from the album Milestones
ReleasedSeptember 2, 1958 (1958-09-02)
RecordedFebruary 4, 1958
Composer(s)Miles Davis
Producer(s)George Avakian

"Milestones" is a jazz composition written by Miles Davis. It appears on the album of the same name in 1958. It has since become a jazz standard. "Milestones" is the first example of Miles composing in a modal style and experimentation in this piece led to the writing of "So What" from the 1959 album Kind of Blue. The song's modes consist of G Dorian for 16 bars, A Aeolian for another 16 bars, and then back to G Dorian for the last eight bars, then the progression repeats.[1][2]

Originally titled "Miles" on the initial album pressings, people soon began referring to the piece as "Milestones" rather than "Miles". On later editions of the album the title was changed.

The musicians who performed on "Milestones" are:

Only Adderley, Davis, and Coltrane solo.

1947 song[edit]

"Milestones" is also the title of another composition credited to Miles Davis that John Lewis had written for him while playing with Charlie Parker.[3] Musically it is not related to the more famous tune.


  1. ^ Salim Washington, Farah Jasmine Griffin -Clawing at the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the ... 1466855290 2013 -"The most historically significant track would be the title song, “Milestones.” Its importance is due largely to the modal character of the composition. For eachofthe song'stwo sections, onlyone chord is used. Instead of the eight to sixteen chords ..."
  2. ^ Leonard Lyons, Don Perlo - Jazz portraits: the lives and music of the jazz masters - Page 156 1989 In 1959 Davis pursued further experiments (begun the year before on the song "Milestones") in modal improvising. Davis took an interest in modes because he thought jazz was becoming "thick with chords", stifling melodic improvising.
  3. ^ "Milestones (1958)". Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)