Buddy Gist with friend Miles Davis

The Horn is displayed in a secured Plexiglass case, seldom played.

That’s okay. Its sound is already known – and loved – around the world. It is the trumpet that Miles Davis played on his classic 1959 album “Kind of Blue.” And its home is at UNCG.

The trumpet was a gift to the university from Davis’ friend, Buddy Gist. He could have sold the instrument for more than a million dollars. Instead, he freely gave it as a gift to inspire future generations of musicians.

The trumpet is one of several ties UNCG has to Davis. The jazz studies program in the School of Music is named in his honor. And each year, the program hosts a jazz festival that also bears his name. This year, the festival will feature special guest saxophonist Lee Konitz, who performed on Miles Davis’ “Birth of the Cool” in 1949.

“It’s going to be incredible,” said Steve Haines, director of the Miles Davis Jazz Studies program. “Lee Konitz is one of the great jazz saxophone players – a legend. His light approach influenced an entire generation of saxophonists.”

Our students will have an incredible opportunity to play along with greatness in musicianship.

The concert will feature Konitz with the UNCG Jazz Band performing parts of “Birth of the Cool.” In the second half, the award-winning UNCG Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Haines, will perform Lee Konitz originals, which have been arranged and orchestrated by UNCG students.

Songs performed will be “Subconscious-Lee,” “Kary’s Trance,” “Monkian Round” and “Blows.”

“Lee’s optimism to work with our students is an honor for us,” Haines said. “Our students will have an incredible opportunity to play along with greatness in musicianship.”

The concert is Friday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. in Aycock Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. For tickets, call (336) 334-4849.

Photography courtesy of Buddy Gist