By Randi Bjornstad

If venerable trumpeter and bandleader Miles Davis were still living, he would be celebrating his 98th birthday on Sunday, May 26, 2024. Davis was born on that day in 1926, and he died on Sept. 28, 1991, at age 65.

But his birthday will not pass without celebration, because there will be a musical Miles Davis Birthday Bash performed at The Shedd Institute for the Arts on that very day by the Eugene-based Carl Woideck Quintet.

Saxophonist Woideck and the rest of his crew — Keith Brown (piano), Robert Lassila (bass), Ken Mastrogiovanni (drums) and Paul Krueger (trumpet) — will bring back some of Davis’ greatest hits from the 1940s through ’60s, such as So What, Boplicity, Nefertiti, and Tune Up.

Many consider Davis to be the greatest small-group bandleader of jazz music of all time, partly because of his extraordinary musical vision and performance but also because he collaborated with some of the other most accomplished and innovative jazz musicians during his career.

According to an online biography, Davis grew up in an upper-middle class family in East St. Louis, Ill., just across the Missouri River from St. Louis, Mo. He began playing trumpet in his teens and performing widely with bands and orchestras, which led to his enrollment in the prestigious Juilliard Music School in New York City. But his skill and drive led him to the decision to go professional. He played with saxophonist Charlie Parker’s bebop quintet, from 1944 to 1948 before striking out on his own and recording for Capitol Records, Prestige Records, and later Columbia Records. His first album there was ‘Round About Midnight, with John Coltrane (saxophone) and Paul Chambers (bass), who became part of a Davis sextet that performed into the 1960s. Their 1959 record, Kind of Blue, still is considered one of the most popular jazz albums of all time.

Davis’ career changed with changing times in the music world, as he explored elements of rock, funk, African and electronic music, and his lineup of fellow musicians changed along with those experiments, sometimes with popularity and other times with derision from those in the more purist jazz world.

After a five-year bout of bad health in the 1970s, Davis came back to the music world during the 1980s, enjoying some of his greatest commercial, if not equally great critical, success. Nonetheless, he was and is considered one of the most important figures in the U.S. jazz world. He died in 1991 after suffering a stroke, complicated by pneumonia and respiratory failure and was inaugurated posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Carl Woideck Quintet and the Miles Davis Birthday Bash

When: 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, 2024

Where: Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, 868 High St., Eugene

Tickets: $28, $24, $19 (discounts of 10 percent for college students, youths admitted free)

Additional opportunity: Dinner at Sixish, available following the concert by advance reservation, $27.75 for adults, $19.75 for children; tickets and meal reservations available at The Shedd ticket office, by telephone at 541-434-7000, or online at