Examining music in a museum space is no simple task; exhibitions about musicians tend to downplay the music itself. But “We Want Miles,” an ambitious show about the life and music of the jazz great Miles Davis, at Cité de la Musique through Jan. 17, is a remarkable exception. In this exhibition, the music is central.
The flow and form of the exhibition at Cité de la Musique (221, Avenue Jean-Jaurès; 33-1-44-84-44-84; www.citedelamusique.fr; Métro: Porte de Pantin), in the Parc de La Villette, is infused with the spontaneous and elegant nature of the man and his music: cool and understated in all the right places. Broken into a chronological series of eras, the constant evolutions and revolutions that characterized Davis’s work are central themes.
The exhibition itself takes a hands-on approach: plug into various listening stations to experience Davis’s tunes. Or sit and lose yourself in a series of “mutes” — acoustically designed rooms, shaped like the trumpet device that Davis used to great effect, with music piped in. There’s also film of “live” concerts, some projected onto big screens.