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Eminent Domains

Making sense of the great Internet land grab.

Artists in Lab Coats.
Call it "the work of art in the age of scientific photography."

Armchair Activism.

Those too busy (or lazy) for environmental causes have no more excuses.

Free Truman Burbank!

For some, television's pernicious influence is no joking matter.

Alexandria's Ghosts.

As the Internet makes abundantly clear, the line between an archive and a rubbish heap is a fine one.

I Thee Web

Get me to the church online.

Virtuala Esperanto

A language of optimists takes root on the Internet.

6 Billion Human Beings

An online exhibit from the Museum of Natural History in Paris looks at our burgeoning humanity, en masse and one at a time.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
July 15, 1998

Miles Davis The majority of new Web sites today appear with little fanfare, yet the recent launch of Milesdavis.com was anything but sedate. On the night of May 26 -- on what would have been the trumpeter's seventy-second birthday -- an all-star cast of Davis alumni, including Jimmy Cobb, Randy Brecker, and Dave Liebman, convened at Birdland, New York's legendary 52nd Street jazz club, to pay a musical tribute to the legacy of Davis's music -- and to help kick off the new site. (A recording of the two sets was made, and the proceeds from its sale will go to the Milesdavis.com Scholarship Fund.) "The music ... was totally absorbing," the jazz writer Ira Gitler wrote. "The spirit of Miles was in the house."

Miles's spirit is in the new Web site, too. Hosted by Jazz Central Station, the largest and most ambitious of the many jazz-related sites on the Web, Milesdavis.com bills itself as the "officially sanctioned" Miles Davis site (there are at least twenty other sites devoted to Miles on the Web), and indeed it has been authorized by the Davis estate. The History section -- an extensive multimedia narrative to be rolled out in twelve monthly installments -- chronicles the evolving musical phases in Davis's life and serves as the site's centerpiece. In the second installment, "Into the Cool," an interactive timeline details the work that Davis did for the groundbreaking 1948 recording, Birth of the Cool, and walks through his subsequent playing with Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and Sarah Vaughn in the earlyamused 1950s. The timeline is supplemented by RealAudio excerpts from the recordings and brief interviews with Davis's sidemen from that period. For more detailed information, readers can go to a narrative that expands on the influential years of 1948-1953. In the Tributes section of the site, contemporary jazz musicians talk (again, in RealAudio) about the influence of Davis's music on their work today.

The opportunities for visitors to the site to buy Davis CDs are many, since Jazz Central Station is part of the Music Boulevard Network, an online retail store with an inventory of more than 200,000 CDs. But the links to the CDs are placed intelligently within the context of the site and, despite their commercial nature, are rarely obtrusive. Unlike countless other Web sites, Milesdavis.com succeeds in walking the fine line between commercialism and art appreciation and thus serves as an elegant tribute -- for seasoned jazz aficionados and newcomers alike -- to the "Picasso of Invisible Art."

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