My review of Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters with Miles Davis ran today at PopMatters.
Comprised of thirty interviews spanning Davis’ career, Miles on Miles is a really entertaining read. Davis is insightful, brisk, and hilarious. He makes his interviewers jump through hoops and roll over before he deigns to provide them with any usable material.
The book also illustrates how the musician cultivated a larger than life off-stage persona, likely to obscure and protect his private life and demeanor from prying eyes.
Definitely worth checking out for fans of Davis, jazz, or even music journalism, as we learn much about the critics and writers behind the encounters, as well.
The things Davis was willing to say to journalists (some of which I mention in the review) are astonishing. These are things that would get many artists railroaded in modern times, particularly his views on race, government, and law enforcement.
His candor is refreshing and invigorating, though. He’s toying with the critics and the readers, poking and prodding them, hoping to make people feel uncomfortable, because it’s clear from many of these pieces that he views comfort and satisfaction as corrosive, negative states of being.
Davis’ musical career was all about shaking things up, and he constantly redefined his personality and his sound over time, much to the chagrin of his audience. Nevertheless, he refused to be anything but fiercely independent, and Miles on Miles captures the man’s sense of self-possession very well.
[tags]Miles on Miles, Jazz, Miles Davis, Book Review, PopMatters, Interviews[/tags]