From Library Journal
Miles Davis as cultural giant which is the theme of this wonderfully edited collection of prose, poetry, and interviews. Beginning with an evocative rendering of the St. Louis music scene of Davis's youth (riverboats, dance halls, and long-forgotten territory bands) and moving through his early development working with the significant proponents of bebop and on to his final days, this work boasts high-quality prose across the board with occasional divergent views on the importance of Davis and his music. Early (Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, Washington Univ.) and contributors like Ingrid Monson, Eric Porter, and Farah Jasmine Griffin present Davis as a portal to the range of African American music and its impact on American culture. Fortunately, the controversies are not sugarcoated; several chapters are devoted to his most contentious music, dating from the period 1969-75. Interviews with prominent musicians la Quincy Jones, Ahmad Jamal, and Ron Carter provide unique insight into the man and musician. Recommended for music collections as well as academic and public libraries with strong music collections. [This is being published to coincide with the 2001 Miles Davis Festival, marking what would have been the trumpeter's 75th birthday. Ed.] William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhea.
- William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The late Miles Davis would have turned 75 in May of this year, and numerous tributes are being presented in print, on the air, and on stage across the country, all in honor of the great jazz trumpeter and bandleader. Notable among the contributions is this collection of essays and reflections by jazz critics and musicians who were intimately acquainted with Davis and his work. The lead essay by editor Early, "Miles Davis as American Knight and American Knave," discusses at length Davis' contribution to the creation of "the mythology of black masculinity," and he identifies similarities in the personas of black boxers and black jazz musicians in American culture. Quincy Troupe, Davis' ghostwriter, adds personal reflections on transformations in Davis' music between the 1950s and the late 1960s. Producers Quincy Jones and George Avakian, pianist Ahmad Jamal, bassist Ron Carter, and keyboardist Joey DeFrancesco all offer fond tributes. Last but not least, the book concludes with the classic Playboy interview by Alex Haley, in which Miles shows a typical pugnacious attitude and taciturn demeanor. Ted Leventhal
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