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Milestones: The Music And Times Of Miles Davis Paperback – August 22, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
So starting this book my collection was covered for the Bird recordings and the Prestige box with Trane, Columbia box with Trane, 60s quintet box, On the Corner, Fillmore, Birth of Cool. Reading this made me realize the big gap between Birth of Cool and Trane. I bought Bag's Groove especially for the two Monk cuts but I feel like I need more there, especially the Sonny Rollins sides.
Which brings me to the electric stuff and the comeback stuff. Reading the book got me to rebuy Bitches Brew on CD and to relisten to On the Corner. I have to say this book has helped me to accept those recordings on their own terms and not as letdowns from the mid 60s. The book has also encouraged me to try a comeback album and I've ordered We Want Miles since that gets pretty positive reviews.
What got me to write and amend my original comment and then turn it into this review were all the negative comments from reviewers who slam with author for his opinions of the electric period. I saw lots of positive comments by the author here and inclusions of positive reviews.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
what a great book! More insights than all the other things on Miles I've ever read. the book was in great shape, got to me quickly.Published 7 months ago by Mark Montesano
Detailed history of Miles Davis's development as a jazz pioneer. Not an easy read... but definitely informative and full of historical gems. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Sam Gaddie
I haven't read every Miles Davis bio - in particular, John Szwed's more recent book has gotten good reviews and therefore may end up replacing this one as a standard, comprehensive... Read morePublished on October 11, 2011 by G B
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... Read morePublished on February 17, 2011 by 4-Legged Defender
Everything you need to know about the man who did everything. If you exclude dixiland and swing, Miles was there for the whole evolution of jazz, and pushed that evolution in some... Read morePublished on January 26, 2010 by Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ
Re-read Review: I still consider this a great source of information but the writing style is horrible. Chambers uses $5. Read morePublished on March 11, 2007 by Mark
The best book on Miles Davis and one of the best jazz books ever written. Originally published in two volumes, the first half covers Miles from his birth up to 1960, the second... Read morePublished on December 25, 2005 by Bomojaz
A fine book.
But Chambers is also slightly upset, I think, that Quincy Troupe got to work with Miles on his autobiography and not he -- and what Chambers' book is missing is... Read more