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Miles and Me Paperback – May 30, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Growing up in St. Louis, Mo., in the 1950s, Troupe idolized jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, seeing him as an alternative to his own white-dominated neighborhood and high school. Miles, as a successful black man embodying all that was hip and proud, was a favorite role model for Troupe and his friends. Thirty years later, Troupe met his hero, and eventually collaborated with him on Miles: The Autobiography. Now he's documented his relationships with man and music in this slim, conversational volume. In casual, sentimental language ridden with gossipy details about Miles's Italian designer clothes, Troupe notes every interaction between Miles and himself that preceded their collaboration and relates favorite vignettes from that project. But what's notable about these anecdotes is how banal they are, from a story about an incompetent roadie, whom Miles predicted would drop everything because he "walked out of tempo," to Troupe's reflections on Miles's habit of hurling harsh insults at strangers who approached him. Although Miles's fans may be happy to read sketches from his life, this book works more as a commentary on the phenomenon of devoted fandom than as another biography of the trumpeter. The book's third section, in which Troupe (now a professor of literature at UC-San Diego) writes about how Miles affected his own coming-of-age, is by far the most compelling, because it deals with the emotional effects music can have upon its listeners--which is, after all, both the cause and the most lyrical side of fandom. 16 b&w photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Miles Davis's open-mindedness toward innovation (musically and personally) set an example that inspired many of his listeners. He made young blacks in particular feel special and free; and some, like Troupe (Choruses, Avalanche), were able to use their imaginations in ways not probable without Davis. Pithy and succinct (one wishes he had written twice as much), Troupe continues to flesh out and demystify Davis in this follow-up to their collaboration, Miles: The Autobiography (LJ 10/1/89), and the Miles Davis Radio Project (a multipart radio series). Filled with "Milesian" humor and off-color language (those sensitive to gratuitous swearing may find this an arduous read), Troupe's book reveals Davis as profoundly, artistically sensitive yet maddeningly mean-spirited and rude. From his teenaged impressions during the 1950s to his mature, deeper reflections at the time of Davis's passing, numerous vignettes clearly show that a rewarding and richly hued relationship had developed between the two men. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
-William Kenz, Moorhead State Univ. Lib., MN
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (May 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520234715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520234710
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,138,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By joel fass on April 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read Troupe's tome, and neither recommend nor disrecommend it. Those interested will read it. However, to me it brings to mind two comments I recollect: "I don't want to hear the bathroom noises of the artist" (Bill Evans), and "The greats are disappointing when you meet them" (Woody Allen).
I read "Miles" and was riveted. It is valuable, hard-hitting oral history. Reading this though, is a perplexing, even depressing exercise. (I'm not saying it's not well written, it is, and has some moving passages)The book is as much about Troupe as Davis, and I'm not sure what his modus operandi is for making public the tyrannical rages and assorted uglier impulses of Davis. Is he trying to bask in reflected glory, tripping that he "really knew" Davis? Is it necessary for music fans, etc. to read how Troupe stood up to Davis's verbal taunts? Does this have anything to do with, or cast any light whatsoever on the MUSIC( which, after all, is what we'll remember long after books like these fade away)?
Honesty notwithstanding, as a musician the more I read about Miles Davis the person, the more I'd like to forget.
The really important stuff is down on record.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Troupe is an outstanding poet and performer of his words, he was also Miles Davis's biographer, and has written a memoir of that relationship which is redundant, self-serving, fan-mag ooze which makes one reconsider the biography Troupe assembled from taped interviews with Davis, perhaps the most durable and ominpresent jazz soloist since Louis Armstrong. Published by a University press obviously trying to hit the trade marketplace, this slim volume reads like it were much longer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rob Kallick on January 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book not knowing what to expect, hoping mainly to get some insight into one of my favorite musicians. On that level this book delivers. The author was very close friends with Miles through the later stages of his life and the book centers around the time they spent together and Troupe's perceptions of Miles during this time. We learn that Miles, while a brilliant and influencial musician, had his share of flaws and Troupe makes no attempt to cover these up - this book is not for those who cannot conceive seeing their hero portrayed in a sometimes negative light. The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars was because sometimes the author let his personal views and beliefs get in the way. Personally I would rather read about Miles than Troupe, but oh well, it is his book.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Quincy Troupe and Miles Davis first collaborated on 1989's MILES, a work that had a lot to say -- and a lot to answer for. Some disliked its rough language, many more took offense at its misogyny and unforgiving attitude toward fellow musicians. The book also took great liberties "adapting" from previous books on Miles without giving due credit. You won't know this from MILES AND ME. All we get here is the jazz version of TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, where our intrepid interviewer gets to the heart of a crotchety old man and reveals him as -- what else -- a down-home guy with a heart of gold. While Miles's autobiography was an intriguing but flawed portrait of Black masculinity and American genius, MILES AND ME steps away from any real analysis of his attitudes, his life or his legacy. Some nice anecdotes are sprinkled throughout the rather formless narrative, but it's easily missed amid all the sentimentality. As I read MILES, I wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall, hearing The Man's life story. I'm still waiting...
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Troupe continues to lower himself with this book. It hasalready been demonstrated that much of Miles's so called autobiographywas ( ) -- Troupe copied things wholesale from earlierbiographies and magazine articles. Now he stoops to this jumbled collection of half truths that aren't all that interesting in the first place. Was Troupe really Miles best friend -- probably not, but who cares? We should be interested in the music and the creative process -- Troupe, who used to be a poet, should be able to address these things -- but doesn't even make an effort -- END
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Duhran Wilson on July 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed both books written about Miles by Quince Troupe. In my opinion Troupe has the uncanny ability to write from a perspective that allows a reader to see the personal side of his subject. Troupe's "no holds barred" approach permits the reader to form their own opinion and paint their own picture. This book portrays Miles as both a legend and human being who confronts life's challenges in both positive and negative ways. Be sure to read this book with an open mind. Sometimes it hurts to see our heroes, who we've placed on such a high level fail in some areas of life.
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