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Milestones: The Music And Times Of Miles Davis Paperback – August 22, 1998


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Milestones: The Music And Times Of Miles Davis + Miles Davis: The Definitive Biography + Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters with Miles Davis (Musicians in Their Own Words)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 838 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306808498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306808494
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack Chambers, the author of several books, lives in Canada, where he is professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

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For any Jazz lover...this book is a must!
Robb Awe
There is also a great account of the evolution of jazz and reveals the trials faced by upcoming jazzmen in the early 20th century.
MilesAndTrane
This is probably the best book about the life of Miles Davis I have found.
Drak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Terry Saundry on May 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
By the time I found out about Jack Chambers' Miles biographies (two volumes, originally) they had been combined into this single book with some new material that brings the original manuscripts from the 1980's up to date. Despite the heading on this site, this is the complete 800-odd page monster bio, not an "introduction"!
This is a fantastic bio. Like many other critics and older fans who were raised on jazz, Chambers can't really relate to Miles' work from the late 1960's onwards, but he does give it comprehensive coverage, rather than pretend that it all ended with "The Quintet". I'm not sure that criticisms about his quoting reviews are justified. I saw it as just being thorough - giving details of the critics' reactions to recordings rather than just his own. I learned much from his chronicling of events, right through to the seventies, that I did not know.
If you are a fan of Miles' final period (1981 comeback to his death in 1991), then you're probably the only one who will feel short-changed. As this was not a period that interested me greatly, I was not particularly bothered (probably exhausted by then!).
A really professional effort.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joe Owen VINE VOICE on January 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Jack Chambers has done a very hard task and that is to present the life of the legendary Miles Davis to readers in a very interesting, yet complex style which was reflective of the way Miles Davis led his life and music.
Miles Davis was the premiere jazz musician of his time along with John Coltrane, Charlie "Bird" Parker, Herbie Hancock, etc, yet while you can love Davis's music, to know the man was very hard to do, since Miles Davis was a standoffish and sullen individual. Chambers describes Davis's behavior as being sullen and hard to know because Davis's was a very shy man. I am sure that Davis lived a tough life because of injustice, yet it is sad that he didn't trust his fans and those who cared for him. Davis certainly lived the life of a "star", he over-indulged in sex, was an abuser of drugs, and had split personalities later on in life, yet his musical vision was almost always focused and clear, whether it be in the pinnacle of his talent (1950-1962), or his creating fusion (1967-1973), or the later part of his life.
Chambers does an excellent job of detailing the relationship Miles had with his fellow musicians such as the love-hate relationship with Theolonius Monk, the admiration and jealousy between Coltrane and Miles, as well as Miles being a mentor to such jazz greats as Herbie Hancock, John McGlaughlin, Chick Corea, etc.
I am a tremendous fan of Miles Davis jazz visions, I love his music and his musical style, yet after reading this book I feel sadness because I don't know if I pity Davis or just not liking him altogether, or admiring him no matter what, his final years were spent in paranoia, suspicion and feeding his ego, that is sad because if he would of just relaxed and enjoy his fans admiration I believe he might have lived longer. Anyways, this is an outstanding book and is highly recommended to all jazz lovers and fans of the immortal Miles Davis.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MilesAndTrane on January 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Milestones" is THE Miles Davis book to read. It has a wealth of knowledge of recording information, including Miles' early days as a sideman for Charlie Parker (which includes details of their rocky frienship). There is also a great account of the evolution of jazz and reveals the trials faced by upcoming jazzmen in the early 20th century. The book deals with Miles' problems with women, drugs and his 6-year seclusion without hype or pompousness, as well as his sometimes unusual method of recruiting musicians. It also puts to print the never-ending health problems Miles had that metaphorically ended up in the wailing of his trumpet (after reading it you will probably never hear of or know anyone who dealt with so many illnesses & ailments as much as Miles; it's a miracle he lived to be 65).
Many of Chambers' details surrounding his life would be plagarized by Miles' himself in his own wild autobiography. This is a must-read for fans who wish to know the man inside the maniac.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By 4-Legged Defender on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was a tough read for me (and apparantly for most of the reviewers before me), as I had read excerpts from it years ago and it infuriated me and interested me simultaneously. I had already read Miles' Autobiography, Ian Carr's 'The Definitive Biography' (which may not have been definitive, but was a much more level-headed, even-handed and sympathetic work than this could ever dream of being), 'So What', 'The Man With The Green Shirt' and the 'Downbeat Hall of Fame Reader' books on Miles, so I believe I already had a grasp on the man as much as anyone needs to dwell on the demons, drugs and dirt that were NOT the embodiment of this great shamanistic genius. Great artists don't ask or need to be liked or loved personally to be appreciated for their contributions to an art form, and no one in jazz made more contributions than Miles.

More a critique and discography than a true biography, this book by Chambers suffers from a virulent lack of objectivity when it covers anything from 'In a Silent Way' onwards; this probably due to the fact that it was originally written prior to the reassessment and re-release of Miles' work from 1969 onward. In the same exact way that all jazz journalists who once lauded and benighted the incomparable Tony Williams when he was a member of the Quintet later turned on him like rabid scrap yard dogs when he formed Lifetime and began the Jazz-Rock movement (it was Tony, not Miles who ushered in this new genre, truth be told - Miles gave birth to fusion, and there IS a difference), declaring him a turncoat and dismissing his entire output thereafter; the purists also reviled and detested Miles for his embracing this new music and incorporating it by going electric.
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