From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up. In this extremely depressing read, Crisp doesn't shirk from discussing the incredibly tawdry aspects of his subject's life. In fact, he dwells on them, giving readers a graphic litany of drug abuse, spousal abuse, alcohol abuse, mental illness?the works. By not only describing Davis's behavior, but also that of his jazz cronies, the author gives the impression that a self-destructive bent is a prerequisite for musical genius. Ultimately, this makes the narrative wearisome rather than compelling. Despite a few creative flourishes, the writing is utilitarian. The only color comes from the unvarnished use of quotations from Davis, filled with his favorite profanities. Black-and-white photos appear throughout. Biographies of musicians should inspire readers to seek out the subject's music; this book probably won't.?Tim Wadham, Dallas Public Library, TX
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 9^-12. As a young student in 1944, Miles Davis headed from his family's Midwest home to the Juilliard School and dazzling New York, where, once he found his classes uninteresting, the legendary jazz trumpeter-to-be "began spending more and more time at the University of Bebop under the tutelage of professors Bird and Diz." Davis would go on to spectacular success, most notably in the fifties and sixties. None of this came without a price, however: Davis joined the list of jazz greats who succumbed to the drug scene, and Crisp spares few details about its horror and influence on musical genius. Several musical terms could be explained better, and the text suffers from some poor editing and proofreading. Drawn heavily from Davis' 1990 autobiography, many of the quotes feature graphic street language. Nevertheless, Crisp's narrative is informal, with a funky air, and young jazz enthusiasts will appreciate the story. Recommended for music collections where demand warrants. Black-and-white photos; discography; bibliography; source notes. Anne O'Malley