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Miles on AAJ

If you are not reading All About Jazz, you should be. Here is an example.

Book Review: The Autobiography… Two Decades Later

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Here is the first paragraph of this excellent review.

“Miles Davis knew how to keep himself on the radar screen. He did it musically throughout his life, except for a five year period of “silence” when he isolated himself in his Manhattan townhouse, by his own admission musically inert and completely caught up in drugs, alcohol, and sexual escapades, inaccessible to even his closest friends. Even then, his records continued to sell, and he made money. Today, nineteen years after his somewhat untimely death in 1991 at the age of 65, he continues to remain a musical legend, still quite popular as well, and undoubtedly his estate earns considerable royalties from his recordings and other productions. Part of Davis’ enduring success is due to his enormous musical influence, creativity and productivity. Beginning with the Birth of the Cool sessions, he showed his remarkable ability to bring a group of musicians together to create groundbreaking music. However, a significant part of his fame and success is also due to his well-cultivated image as the quintessentially rebellious, individualistic black musician, the artist against the Establishment, his insistence on being himself, the African American insisting on being free. This image is perpetuated by his autobiography, co-authored by Quincy Troupe, who in an Afterword, indicates that he spent countless hours with Davis, taking copious notes and taping extended conversations with him. Moreover, he devoted himself to capturing Davis’ language and intention. So, in two decades retrospect, and without being able to question the primary author, we can assume that this is Miles speaking, not the pure construction of his co-writer.”

Miles: The Autobiography
By Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe
New York: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 2005
(Originally published in 1989)

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