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Miles: The Autobiography Paperback – September 15, 1990


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Paperback, September 15, 1990
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (September 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671725823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671725822
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The brilliant bad man of jazz trumpetry unburdens himself of his hate and anger as well as of his good feelings about life, friendship, sex, drugs, women and cars. "On almost any score this is a remarkable book," observed PW. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

The Atlantic With Miles, Davis proves to be his own most perceptive critic. -- Review

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Customer Reviews

What an amazing life.
nurwho
As far as I can tell, Miles is Miles in this book, and if there are contradictions in his story, it's because there are contradictions in the man.
M. Allen Greenbaum
This book is a must read for all true jazz lovers.
Donny Thompson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 85 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a superb book, but not for the easily offended. Miles' autobiography reveals a hardworking, supremely talented musician who challenged himself continually as he, time after time, reinvented jazz. Yet Miles Davis is full of contradictions; the victim of racism; he rails, at times, against whites, yet plays with and respects them. His attitudes and behavior toward women can be appalling, yet he had a tender, generous side, and admits (and also denies) his faults. As far as I can tell, Miles is Miles in this book, and if there are contradictions in his story, it's because there are contradictions in the man.
Some people have complained that there is not enough analysis of his music in the book, but your ears will tell you more than any technical explanation. He talks of his early days at Juilliard, skipping the school to play with Bird and others in New York, his courageous "cold turkey" quitting of heroin, his abuse by police, and the various bands and movements he led. Lots of amusing (and tragic) anecdotes, comments on other musicians, insights into his wide-ranging tastes, and interesting sidelights (he and Jimi Hendrix almost made an album together).
Miles Davis is candid, and quite generous with his use of obscenities--but no matter. He tells it like he sees it. One gets the impression that if the man is flawed, and his recollections perhaps self-serving at times, he at least is being as honest as he can be with himself. We really don't know, just as we can't really know all the "true facts" in any autobiography.
His music is unspeakably beautiful, and one may wonder how his music seems to transcend both his victimization and his own prejudice.
Read more ›
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Earl Hazell on September 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Miles Davis, with all his faults, flaws and laughable quirks, was still one of the most important musicians of the twentieth century. It takes a book like this where he leaves no stone unturned to make clear the debt we all owe him and his contemporaries, as well as the restless spirit that lead him beyond what he helped to establish as modern jazz. In many ways he shows himself to be, ironically, the archetypal and sterotypical artist simultaneously. Yet his telling of the profound friendships he had with Max Roach and Coltrane, his deep awe and respect but dispassionate eye for the genius and addictions of Charlie Parker, the loves of his life- and what he put them through, and his brutal, courageous hoonesty in general, gives us a gift of his haunting humanity.
But above all, this about the music. His own telling of his style, the true creators of the form in total and the actual environment where it was produced, and how he created so many styles of his own is enough to make this book worth having.
You will never find another human being who can make curse words sound so beautiful!
If you love jazz, or are a jazz musician, this book will remind you why. And why you love Miles. Everybody does.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. Dann on April 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
Miles' words match his music. That revolutionary sound burns, subverts and takes you to a whole new space. If you read his life story you'll never question whether he put himself into his sound. The book doesn't pander to anyone. ( A mild way of stating he writes raw and real.) He was a sinner but did not succomb to the pressures of the establishment press. Who else would turn his his back on the audiences, and terrorize influential interviewers?
This volume, like all his work, totally his own; proves him an intolerant bully, certain drug addict, chronic
irreverent often seething with universal contempt. The section of Cicely Tyson's extravagant 'Tribute to Miles' is too good for me to spoil it here. Miles surely demythologizes Tyson, whom he claimed he never loved. But he also gets a few jabs in at Trane, and we all know the pantheon wherein he presides.
His childhood is interesting and not the typical po' boy refrain. His father a dentist, comfortable but surely not wealthy. Still, on the whole, Davis had it better in St. Louis than most black folks.
This book is a "must read" for jazz lovers and people who seek liberation from the ordinary. Hear Miles talk about how good he looked and sounded. Nobody else could have written this book. Nobody would dare.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "skapunkbluesjazzrock" on July 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
In Miles Davis' autobiography Miles tells everything in an open and honest manner, maybe to some degree too open and honest, some of his information in this book makes other musicians look bad. He talks openly about which guys did heroin, and who he had aruguments with and much, much more. What is even better is that Miles speaks candidly about his own problems in life, he covers his coke addiction (which was one of the reasons he retired for about 6 years), his heroin addiction, his sex life, ect. Miles also openly displays his opinions about everything, reading this book makes me feel like I've had a deep conversation with Miles. His writing is vulgar (this book has about a million cuss words), which adds to the feeling that he's telling his life story naturally without any interference from his editor. In this autobiography Miles Davis' entire life is covered in a well detailed fashion, with many great stories thrown in for entertainment. This is the best autobiography I've read, and I throughly recommend it to all Miles Davis fans.
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