Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Miles: The Autobiography
The 1989 autobiography of the great jazz musician was a fascinating read / listen. Davis was born in East St. Louis in 1926. His father was a dentist and a pillar of the community, a man who gave Davis much needed support throughout his life.
Davis is bluntly honest about race in America, and the racism he faced throughout his life. He was (Davis died two years after this book was published, in 1991) not a man who would put up with the disrespect of others. Davis is also very forthright with his opinions of other musicians, and he played with every great musician of the second half of the 20th century. He was close to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, though his relationship with Parker deteriorated as Parker's life spun out of control.
Davis also discusses without flinching his own problems with drugs, including his lengthy battle with heroin addiction. The book was co-written with St. Louis luminary, Quincey Troupe.
I chose to listen to this book because I am on a Dion Graham kick lately. I don't think I would have picked this book up and read it now, otherwise. Graham does a phenomenal job of becoming Miles Davis, at least I believed he was Davis. Graham is a great narrator.