, Miles Davis, Miles Davis, Miles Davis, Miles Davis, Miles Davis

“I’m always thinking about creating.  My future starts when I wake up every morning ... Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” — Miles Davis

, MIles Davis, Miles Davis

In honor of Black History month, we thought we’d focus February’s blogs on another of Jim’s musical heroes: jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer extraordinaire Miles Davis, widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.

, Etta James, Johnny Otis, Johnny Otis

They died within two days of each other -- Ioannis Alexandros Veliotes aka “Johnny Otis” and Jamesetta Hawkins aka “Etta James” – and it got me to thinking about how music connects even the most disparate of souls and smooths over some of the roughest of roads.

It’s no big secret that Jim liked his women, his wine and his whiskey.  Anyone who spent any time with him knows the effort it took to keep him from practically pouring the booze down your throat, especially if he wanted something from you or if he sensed you wanted something from him.  And, let’s face it, Jim saw the world in rather stark black-and-white terms, so who wanted what from whom and why was pretty much the the name of the game with him.  If you didn't like it, well, he was more than happy to tell you where you could stick your opinion.

It’s a most mysterious process, this work of keeping Jim’s legacy alive.  In some ways it doesn’t even feel much like work to the team behind Jim Marshall Photography LLC, for we get to look at brilliant, heroic photos, discover unseen gems on hidden slides and never-seen proof sheets, and, most fun of all, reminisce about the man and the myth. We know how lucky we are and want to take a moment as 2011 strides to a close to express our gratitude to everyone (whether friend, family, fan, even former foe) who is coming along on the journey with us.

, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Monterey Pop, Johnny Cash, Jim Morrison

We couldn’t help but notice the other day that Magnum, the renowned photo agency founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Cornell Capa and other photojournalists in Paris after the end of WWII, has released a coffee table book featuring a collection of proof sheets from its famous archives. I know Jim was a big fan of much of the work that Magnum photographers created, and he counted many of them as great inspirations, even friends.

, Shel Silverstein, Shel Silverstein, Shel Silverstein, Shel Silverstein

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.  Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.  Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me ... Anything can happen, child.  Anything can be.” ― Shel Silverstein

, Johnny Cash, Shel Silverstein, Shel Silverstein, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash

Anybody who ever met Jim in his later years knows that he had a real love-hate relationship with this time of year.  Any holiday or birthday, especially Thanksgiving or Christmas, just seemed to depress him, and that depression would then send him into one of his manic spirals, full of misanthropy and chaos. Sadly, he started to use the holidays as an excuse to “get weird” and tune into the darker side of his nature, but that wasn’t always the case.

, Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, Mickey Hart

In our last Grateful Dead blog we focused on work from Jim’s early Dead output in the ’60s.  This week we thought it would be interesting to bring you some rare live and publicity shots from the mid-’70s.  The first batch is from The Dead's October 1975 surprise free concert (with the Jefferson Starship) in Golden Gate Park’s Lindley Meadow.

, Grateful Dead, Grateful Dead, Pigpen McKernan, Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia and Jim Marshall, Jerry Garcia

You can’t talk about Jim’s massive and influential coverage of seminal San Francisco bands without focusing on his work with the Grateful Dead.

And you don’t have to be a Deadhead, Fellow Traveler, Merry Pranskter, aging hippie, boomer or any other member of the gigantic global tribe that avidly follows the band -- and its myriad offshoots today -- to appreciate the magnitude of The Dead’s importance, then and now.