by Bill Kirchner
Smithsonian Institution Press (November 1997)
Miles Davisin the company of Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and John Coltraneis one of a handful of instrumental jazz innovators. Born in 1926 in Alton, Illinois, Davis learned to play trumpet in grade school. By the time he was a teenager, he was accomplished enough to sit in with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie when they came to St. Louis in the 1940s. As this anthology of 24 interviews, essays, and reviews shows, Davis first achieved fame as part of the generation that reenergized jazz by creating be-bop. What is also clear is that, unlike many of his contemporaries, Davis never stood still: he invented and reinvented himself a half-dozen or more times. Davis created a form called "cool jazz"; formed bands with stalwarts such as Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and Cannonball Adderly; and in the 1970s confounded all expectations with a series of jazz-rock ensembles. This impressive collection is complete with a number of transcriptions and musical examples.
Synopsis Acclaimed as one of the greatest influences on jazz, Miles Davis provided during his 46-year career the impetus for major changes in both the jazz idiom and popular mainstream music. A MILES DAVIS READER focuses on Davis's music but also reveals the opinions and characteristics of a musician who remained a trend-setting "hipster" even as he achieved the status of patriarch . This text refers to the paperback edition of this title.