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i won t say this is the absolute best book i ve ever read, but it sure is a motherfucker, as miles would probably say if he were here though actually he d probably just punch me in the face for saying that and tell me to come up with my own shit to say, instead of copying him and trying to look hip when i m not and he d be right about that as he is about pretty much everything else, except maybe on the question of whether or not one should beat women, but hey, everybody s got their blind side i won t say this is the absolute best book i ve ever read, but it sure is a motherfucker, as miles would probably say if he were here though actually he d probably just punch me in the face for saying that and tell me to come up with my own shit to say, instead of copying him and trying to look hip when i m not and he d be right about that as he is about pretty much everything else, except maybe on the question of whether or not one should beat women, but hey, everybody s got their blind sidei don t even know where to start talking about how awesome this book is maybe it helps to be into jazz, because there s a certain amount of joy that comes with going through 40 years of jazz history and meeting all the greats as you go, and playing with them or feeling like you re playing with them, anyway, cuz he is so many great portraits of so many amazing talents bird, diz, monk, trane, coleman hawkins, dexter gordon, max roach, philly joe jones, tony williams, jackie maclean, bud powell, gil evans gil evans i love gil evans now , mingus, wayne shorter even the very few people you can tell miles didn t like even though he acts like he was cool with them , like ornette coleman, you still get a real sense of who they were, or at least who they were to miles davis, which certainly counts for something or shouldso that s all great.but really the book is just about getting inside the head of a true artistic genius, looking at himself, revealing himself to himself, out loud and miles isn t a literary artist, so there s nothing stylistic or formal or precious about it he s not worried about the words everyone and everything is a motherfucker, and motherfucker means something different every time he says it it s sloppy and self contradictory and i m sure self serving at times though honestly i can t tell how he could paint himself in a worse light than he does most of the time, and 99% of the time he s putting all the honors on his friends and other musicians and styling himself as just the guy who got them in the room but as a whole the book just gives you this intense mad rush of life, what it s like what it s like what it s like to play MUSIC there s so much hunger and sorrow and anger and love and hate on every page, and it s all just inseparably balled up in this guy s head and heart and music, and he can t say or do a thing without expressing it all either he s playing as hard as he can or he s fighting with someone or falling madly in love again or doing every drug on the planet and driving 180 miles an hour in his lamborghini OR HE S DOING IT ALL AT ONCE it s sad and scary and hopeless and wonderful and makes you want to kill yourself and live and go dancing miles davis didn t dance, by the way never danced didn t talk much about the whys and wherefores of that but he didn t very strange he was very hung up on being cool, though which i can understand me and miles davis, we re pretty similar in some respects Dbut anyway this book was just on fire and i loved every minute of it you should read it unless you don t like the word motherfucker, or reading about some bitches gettin themselves slapped sometimes when they get all up in a man s face while he s trying to do his business A long, rambling epic that careens between stuff like Miles breaking down in surprising depth the multiple jazz zeitgeists he was involved in and Miles uncomfortably sitting in the back of a car with Charlie Bird Parker and a prostitute while Bird simultaneously gets his dick sucked and eats chicken So much fucking dirt on the musical idols of every jazz nerd according to Miles Mingus was an intensely racist rageaholic, Armstrong was an Uncle Tom, Coltrane was a nose picker and Billie Holl A long, rambling epic that careens between stuff like Miles breaking down in surprising depth the multiple jazz zeitgeists he was involved in and Miles uncomfortably sitting in the back of a car with Charlie Bird Parker and a prostitute while Bird simultaneously gets his dick sucked and eats chicken So much fucking dirt on the musical idols of every jazz nerd according to Miles Mingus was an intensely racist rageaholic, Armstrong was an Uncle Tom, Coltrane was a nose picker and Billie Holliday sexually preferred short, stocky guysand of course literally fucking everyone was on heroin, except for Monk and he didn t need it cause he was kind of a weird dude Honestly I think the only human being that comes out looking decent in this book is Duke Ellington go figure So much fucking dirt it threatens to mask the story of Miles life and all the fascinating firsthand experience he has of the era s but never does.Also precious is the insight into why he was constantly trying out new genres and inventing new ones when he got bored Any jazz fan is gonna wonder how a guy goes from Birth of the Cool to Kind of Blue to E.S.P to Bitches Brew to Agharta to fucking.I don t even wanna mention the 80s stuff but we all know that it happened and it wasn t anything close to his pre hiatus records I don t think it s a spoiler to say that the reason he could and did try so many things was because Miles frankly gave very little of a shit about others opinion and this is made abundantly clear on every page I m pretty sure there s a co author listed on this book, but ghostwriting fears should be put to rest because it sounds like Miles just fucking rambled for hours and hours and some other dude put it into a decent literary structure No one else says motherfucker that much, it s definitely Miles voice Even his spoken language has a music and rhythm to it that you can definitely hear Unfortunately you can t actually hear his famous rasp whisper but you still know who s talking.I just can t imagine a jazz biography being any better than this You get the rather mundane biographical stuff, the academic stuff, the contextual history stuff and the pure fucking mud on what the jazz scene really was like, at least for a dude who was in the thick of things for fucking five or whatever decades Of course, Miles isn t afraid to shine that light on himself and there s some certainly painful and ugly stuff for him, mostly dealing with his epic decades long struggle with drugs Years on I still remember the story of his heroin addiction in the 40s and subsequent horrible withdrawal at his parents house Unfortunately Miles kind of swapped the heroin addiction out for a cocaine addiction and some gnarly shit goes down, like Miles slapping some random lady because he thought she was in his car with him they were in an elevator Miles is nothing but upfront and honest throughout the entire book He doesn t come out looking good very often and honestly could be a total fucking dick But it s inarguable that if genius exists he was one A must for jazz fans, Miles fans and or people who just like intense life stories An absolute must for musicians and fans I would think this autobiography would be interesting for anyone just based on the insight into such a magnificent cultural era s in our country but I am biased because I love Miles and his work The narrative really reads like you are being spoken to in Davis tone, cadence and patois And he seems to hold little back including a lot of recollections and ideas that you wish were not part of someone s heart and mind that you so greatly admire But that i An absolute must for musicians and fans I would think this autobiography would be interesting for anyone just based on the insight into such a magnificent cultural era s in our country but I am biased because I love Miles and his work The narrative really reads like you are being spoken to in Davis tone, cadence and patois And he seems to hold little back including a lot of recollections and ideas that you wish were not part of someone s heart and mind that you so greatly admire But that is really the essence of this man s character A deep and often dark duality between cruel impulse and deep thought, obsession and passion, clean, sharp beauty and addicted squalor, anger and transcendence Miles Davis is truly one the great artists of the 20th century and was at the peak of multiple sea changes in the history of music He seemed to always have the ability to understand the historical moment and his role in it and the gravity of the event and having completed his role for the moment he always moved forward to face new moments This is something very few artists or people are capable of and Davis speaks about these great eras, moments, events, albums in an unsentimental way but without downplaying them He was an artist that spent his life on a journey always moving forward and almost always doing so before the critics, the fans and even the musicians around him were ready to move forward or understood where and why he was going There is much to laugh at in these pages, much to cringe at, much to be in awe of and much to learn, and often all in the same line One of the reasons I like playing with a lot of young musicians today is because I find that a lot of old jazz musicians are lazy motherfuckers, resisting change and holding on to the old ways because they are too lazy to try something different They listen to the critics, who tell them to stay where they are because that s what they like The critics are lazy too They don t want to try to understand music that s different The old musicians stay where they are and become like museum pieces under glass, safe, easy to understand, playing that tired old shit over and over again Then they run around talking about electronic instruments and electronic musical voicing fucking up the music and tradition Well, I m not like that and neither was Bird or Trane or Sonny Rollins or Duke or anybody who wanted to keep on creating Bebop was about change, about evolution It wasn t about standing still and becoming safe If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change Living is an adventure and a challenge When people come up to me and ask me to play something like My Funny Valentine, some old thing that I might have done when they were fucking this special girl and the music might have made them both feel good, I can understand that But I tell them to go buy the record I m not there in that place any longer and I have to live for what is best for me and not what s best for them Miles A fantastic autobiography I didn t realize it would be so timely with Davis s commentary on racism in America during his career and through 1990 Still valid today He was quite bitter about the cultural appropriation and lack of appreciation for jazz in his time This one is rich with history Miles is so open and honest that he doesn t come across as a likable man He is a man in search of respect that certainly didn t give much respect But here s the thing, he knew this about himself Full A fantastic autobiography I didn t realize it would be so timely with Davis s commentary on racism in America during his career and through 1990 Still valid today He was quite bitter about the cultural appropriation and lack of appreciation for jazz in his time This one is rich with history Miles is so open and honest that he doesn t come across as a likable man He is a man in search of respect that certainly didn t give much respect But here s the thing, he knew this about himself Full of isms and contradictions the man was fairly self aware But he does come across as brilliant, wise and talented and ahead of his time Oh and he loved Prince Amazing book More comprehensive review laterI hope 5 StarsListened to the audio book while following along in a paperback No kindle version published Dion Graham was an incredible narrator He recreated what it must have sounded like talking to Miles Davis What a treat I waited far too long to read this book, but I finally did and have been richly rewarded I now have this book as the 2nd best biography I have ever read For those who are interested in the first, it is Arthur Ashe But Miles came damn close to challenging for that number one spot He was extremely genuine and forthright about his life, even admitting to slapping and abusing women, which is brave, only because it isn t mandatory to reveal such scurrilous behavior The honesty abou What a treat I waited far too long to read this book, but I finally did and have been richly rewarded I now have this book as the 2nd best biography I have ever read For those who are interested in the first, it is Arthur Ashe But Miles came damn close to challenging for that number one spot He was extremely genuine and forthright about his life, even admitting to slapping and abusing women, which is brave, only because it isn t mandatory to reveal such scurrilous behavior The honesty about life long drug abuse and his feelings about America in general and white people specifically makes this a must read for those who are interested in how one s life can be impacted by race He takes us through the jazz world and not only informs the reader but also educates about the music known as jazz, that frequently Miles refers to simply as black music Great job exposing how critics can and do influence opinions about music and the artists who produce it.It was good to hear Miles in his own voice clear up some of the headline grabbing incidents that he was involved in The supposed fights and violent arguments, many of which didn t happen the way they were initially reported His take on jazz and the major players and how he tried to evolve with the times, despite getting killed critically is priceless to one s understanding of Miles music and the evolution of jazz.There are some laugh out loud moments in this book, Miles at a white house dinner, simply hilarious Quincy Troupe who is the actual writer on this project, does an excellent job of letting Miles voice come through authentically From the afterword, Miles is not the kind of person who concerns himself with sanitizing his image He prefers to say what he has to say, to tell his true feelings, even when what he has to say hurts him and others So that type of honesty makes for a great book I can t imagine what was left out, but according to Quincy there was even some of what he said was so explosive, we ultimately had to edit it out of the book for legal reasons To that i simply say, wow I can tell you this, what is included qualifies this book as 5 stars Sitting across from me he continues telling me about his life I don t particularly like him or find him interesting, at least not as interesting as he finds himself Laying a line of cocaine on the tabletop, he snorts it then orders another drink There is one exception which has and still runs through our conversation His life is lived not only for creativity but for reaching, for further and new means of reaching This is the experience which provides the meaning in his life I m coming to s Sitting across from me he continues telling me about his life I don t particularly like him or find him interesting, at least not as interesting as he finds himself Laying a line of cocaine on the tabletop, he snorts it then orders another drink There is one exception which has and still runs through our conversation His life is lived not only for creativity but for reaching, for further and new means of reaching This is the experience which provides the meaning in his life I m coming to see that it is his life.His early years he told me, reluctant at first, in East St Luis he mostly played his trumpet Sleight of build he didn t roam the streets looking for fights His father was a dentist and for that neighborhood they had enough money It wasn t socioeconomic or some determination of will He described it, palms flat on the table, as a following of his nature.I admire the sheer immersion in his music played through his trumpet and the ongoing composition of melodies and themes flooding his mind Trying to explain to him while refusing a hit of the coke, that I m unschooled in music and that personally I have no hint of a talent What though has struck me, I try to explain as he downs his drink with a small pill, is the phrase he used two minutes ago, that he plays, Sheets Of Music Rather than labeling what it is he wants people to hear through some form of instrumentation he creates an unwinding tone, sheets, where the listener experiences a feeling which has no words I try to compare it to writing but it isn t quite the same, writing not quite as direct.People drift to our table embedded in the dark of a corner wanting his autograph, a photo to be taken with him I m supposed to take the picture but explain I don t know how to work it They take their camera and leave He nods a thanks I explain that I was telling the truth Others still gather, hover, and he coldly ignores them until they scatter and are gone When they are all gone he tells me they are mother fuckers He has used this cursed phrase frequently through our conversation It has meant many things while carrying a beat and a resonance But why of all testimonies of cursing, mother fuckers It is a small club He points to some of his band members while describing all the lands, experiences, and interesting people he has met through his constant travel Ordering another drink he lights a cigarette His band members are his family, not just them but his mentors and the legends he has played with, joined with as friends in a culture where change of personnel within a band and in life is so frequent that little stays long enough within the furrows of soil to take root It is personified by the nickname of one who was special to him, Bird, the great Charley Parker, his revolutionary style of runs of fluttering notes In my own fluttering way, hesitant, a word which I doubt Miles is familiar with, I throw in an awkward question, if he doesn t have a family I mean a blood family What s blood, he tells me those dark eyes boring into me, not a ruthlessness that I was warned about but a blunt force, an insistent truth Relentless Earlier he told me that was all there is If he gave me the horn to play, me being white, not referring to race he pointed out matter of fact as everything he said was matter of fact, you d play like the records you listened to But as bad as those motherfuckers might be you would have to find your own way of playing the horn See, that s what it s about finding your own way of playing then taking it deeper, deeper within yourself If your an artist you don t have a choice It s a curse You get that Then you innovate Every morning you wake up your mind begins innovating You don t choose it It chooses you So, my blood is with the people who are like me, that I played with, played off of, played against, each pushing the other to play above what we knew Those experiences you listening Yes sir, I said before I could catch the words Don t call me that That s as bad as some motherfucker calling me a legend I don t want to backed into and cornered by no labels.I gathered my strength, my steam, refusing another line of coke, tried playing the notes above my stuttering faltering voice, and asked what about his kids, his wife The two son s he ignored and grew into trouble and failure Immediately he dismissed them as huge disappointments He missed, I wanted to tell him, holding the constant bore of his eyes at bay, that the boys difficulties in life may well have stemmed from his abandoning them, his continous playing on tour and rarely there Even when there he went to the clubs on 52nd street in Harlem The small clubs were next door to each other or across the street There, was the birth of the new music, Bebop When a set finished the musicians went to another club and sat in This family of mother fuckers were bad, they played bad, they gathered within the warmth of their own kin, creativity and innovation tending a current firing through all Explosive moments of living beyond reach.He lit another cigarette as he crushed the last one into the filling ashtray Nobody asks to be an artist It s a bad ass motherfucker But you wouldn t have any of the great music, paintings, sculpture, if those artists didn t follow their call but instead dedicated themselves to domesticity Like it or not being an artist is a full time concern I think it was the right thing to do The only thing to do, he said downing another pain pill I understand others not agreeing with it I understand a lot of people then thinking I m a hypocrite for all the time, daily, nightly, I spend with women They have their opinion, I have mine I respect that It s something I have to have and it s always there Women want to be with Miles You see I have what they call an addictive personality Another thing I didn t ask for but here it is.I wanted to know why he treated women the way he did, using them as disposable items, even at times beating them Why, sitting there as he recounted his life, he turned it around and found ways of blaming them Why he kept saying mother fucker He said little about his mother Off hand as usual he skirted using any freudian explanations Explanations were rare, hardly present But the explanation of addictive personality grated on me What is addictive and what is an obsession Is there a difference It seems to me listening to him but escaping the heat of those dark eyes for a moment, that addiction refers to a physical organic malady that must be contended with and an obsession, well that is something emotional, psychological It s there to provide an unwitting illusory sense of control in the tumultuous whirlwind of life Provide an unconscious escape from unwelcome or even terrifying feelings carried within some dark webbed corner of personal being Where are you white boy I m telling you things you need to know This is a whole different culture here, a whole different world You see that s a big problem Black people created the only great musical contribution to the world in this country Jazz We ve sure had our hand in Gospel, the Blues, Soul too And guess what, we re anointed by the recording industry as legends Our new music which always becomes new each time we play You see don t you, he signals the waitress and quickly returns, that then some of the white players can copy some of those licks and the recording companies, all of them white, can promote them I come back from a long tour in Europe, Japan too, and I find all our music is now the white man s music You see what I m saying to you Anyway it s time to play my set, I hear him mumble I reach for my wallet His hand covers my other hand on the table It presses down He tells me that nobody, no matter how mother fucking nice a guy he is, pays Mile s tab You understand Before I could answer he disappears into the darkness then reappears on the lit platform stage his trumpet held for a moment aloft The notes filled with layers of emotions, beautifully unsettling, fill the room I close my eyes lifted to somewhere I had never been before .FREE EPUB ⚒ Miles: The Autobiography ☪ For than forty years Miles Davis has been in the front rank of American music Universally acclaimed as a musical genius, Miles is one of the most important and influential musicians in the world The subject of several biographies, now Miles speaks out himself about his extraordinary life Miles The Autobiography, like Miles himself, holds nothing back For the first time Miles talks about his five year silence He speaks frankly and openly about his drug problem and how he overcame it He condemns the racism he has encountered in the music business and in American society generally And he discusses the women in his life But above all, Miles talks about music and musicians, including the legends he has played with over the years Bird, Dizzy, Monk, Trane, Mingus, and many othersThe man who has given us some of the most exciting music of the past few decades has now given us a compelling and fascinating autobiography, featuring a concise discography and thirty two pages of photographs Was Miles Davis a devotee of the OULIPO movement Given his stated disinclination to read books it may be unlikely, but it does seem that he set himself an OULIPOian constraint when dictating the material that was shaped into book form by Quincy Troupe The constraint was to describe every person, object and experience using only the words motherfucker, shit and bad His early interest in music I remember being fascinated by hearing the records of Louis Armstrong, Jimmie Luncefordand a whol Was Miles Davis a devotee of the OULIPO movement Given his stated disinclination to read books it may be unlikely, but it does seem that he set himself an OULIPOian constraint when dictating the material that was shaped into book form by Quincy Troupe The constraint was to describe every person, object and experience using only the words motherfucker, shit and bad His early interest in music I remember being fascinated by hearing the records of Louis Armstrong, Jimmie Luncefordand a whole bunch of other bad motherfuckers The Savoy Sultans They was badder than a motherfucker The way Duke Ellington and Jimmie Luncford dressed They was cleaner than a motherfucker Monk s use of space Damn, what is that motherfucker doing Critics Bird and Dizzy told me not to pay that shit critics said no mind Howard McGhee One night him and me got into a jam session on trumpet that was a motherfucker Eddie Lockjaw Davis He was a motherfucker Gil Fuller Gil was a motherfucker How was it playing with Bird when he hadn t rehearsed with the band He nods, counts off the beat and plays every motherfucking tune in the exact key we had rehearsed it in He played like a motherfucker..he d look at us looking at him all shocked and shit We re still in the early days, so I could go on, but I think I ve made the point He could have tried harder, he just couldn t be bothered That, I began to think, as I read the book, applied to many aspects of his life including the only aspect of Miles Davis that is of enduring interest his music He recorded some of the greatest music of the 20th century, but he never went too far outside a limited range as a trumpeter Once he had recorded Birth of The Cool a self defining swerve away from the fast paced intricacies of be bop he had essentially set a template which would be adapted to suit different line ups until the late 60 s The hardest he ever had to work was with the quintet of Shorter, Hancock, Carter and Williams, with Williams always trying to push him into thefrantic territory then being occupied by Coltrane, Ayler etc But he wouldn t go, although the apparent teetering particularly on the live recordings is a fascinating aspect of what I would happily argue was his greatest band Then came the addition of bands that included elements of rock and funk which gave him a huge cushion into which he could sink, playing darts of sound that melded into the everyone playing all the time style which was influenced to a greater extent than I had realised the book isn t entirely without value by Ornette Coleman s theory of harmolodics although the theory is never mentioned by that name I like the music of those times a lot too, but those,than any other recordings were the work of a group sound, with Miles as just one element of the continuous buzz.After that there was a long break which seems to have consisted of living in rich man s squalour while taking lots of drugs and applying to numerous, anonymous women If I met them on the street today I probably wouldn t even recognize most of them the inquisitiveness he once applied to music I did some weird shit back in those days By then even musician friends had given up calling by, They got sick and tired of that shit so they just stopped coming When he did decide to start playing again he was happy to settle for a better than average smooth funk style that no longer involved any real interaction with the musicians he dubbed his part onto already recorded backing Even live there was very little happening and the bands featured interchangeable, session musicians I saw one of those bands and, apart from Kenny Garrett, I have no idea who was in the band, a detail that would have been crucial in previous times I had always resisted reading this book because I had worried that it would affect the way I listen to his music But I m old enough now to know that most artists are very imperfect people and I judge the music as music and I adore the music of Miles Davis and I judge a book as a book As such this is a truly awful book, with no literary merit, but with a reasonable narrative, despite some strange repetitions The best that can be said of the person telling the stories is that he was honest Honest about hitting women and describing them in terms that would make Donald Trump blush well no, he probably would go one better, or worse , honest about an unreflective need to accumulate capital and show off that s my slant He was angry about the treatment of African Americans, but never explored a convincing critique of US society as a whole He wasn t a deep or reflective person in that way, but then, his music was as deep and reflective as we could ever hope to hear and in the end that s what I want to remember Not this book absorbing as it is, if the music and musicians of those times interest you not the limited , tiresome vocabulary, but the limited trumpet technique that managed to encompass so much.P.S I m still wondering who Hernspach, the brilliant British composer might be Some kind of happiness is measured out in Miles. This is one of the most inspiring musician biographies I ve ever read, and I m not a rabid Miles fan It s good in the same way the recent Keith Richards autobiography is good because it s a book about music by a guy who loves music, has played a lot of music and knows a lot about music Also, unlike the comparable Ray Charles autobiography it doesn t wind down halfway through when it becomes clear its protagonist is an incurable man of habit and a control freak Nah, that ain t Miles Miles i This is one of the most inspiring musician biographies I ve ever read, and I m not a rabid Miles fan It s good in the same way the recent Keith Richards autobiography is good because it s a book about music by a guy who loves music, has played a lot of music and knows a lot about music Also, unlike the comparable Ray Charles autobiography it doesn t wind down halfway through when it becomes clear its protagonist is an incurable man of habit and a control freak Nah, that ain t Miles Miles is about change, challenge, collaboration And its this that makes him the perfect mentor Wanna know how to get a band together Ask Miles he s had about 100 of them Wanna know how to keep it fresh Man, you don t gotta preach to em or tell em what to do, just throw em off balance and watch the adrenalin kick in You think it s all about being rehearsed and having your act down pat Motherf ker, you gotta jam with whoever you can Bird, Dizzy, Coltrane, Hendrix Add to this the classic rags to riches tale of a kid from East St Louis who winds up in Paris making love to Juliette Greco and realising everything that s wrong with race politics back home and you have the inspirational musical story par excellence Oh yeah, and I can t count the number of times Bitches Brew has saved me from sleeplessness when my neighbours are acting up again it s the stuff that dreams are made of Miles, he s the man