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Book Reviews

Miles, From the Eyes of a Friend

By Published: March 8, 2004
Murphy comes off as a likeable guy, noble in a world where a lot of snakes exist. He has spares no distain for many of the record producers and promoters in the game, and doesn’t hide his love of real creative music makers, not just Miles, who don’t get the attention of today’s business suits.

The author even has a take on the “autobiography,” which is rife with drug abuse and other wild stories (“Bastard’s Brew,” screamed a 1986 New York Post headline above the review of Miles Davis: the Autobiography). Davis liked to put on interviewers and, depending on his mood, was not above exaggerating situations. Murphy says the trumpeter was not as bad as he, himself, made out in the book; that, if he had to talk about himself, he’d rather paint a dark and quirky picture. It wouldn’t be in his nature to go the “aw-shucks” route and portray a warm, funny, caring and sensitive guy. He had his dark side, but the other side was the real Miles. Like Tingen, Murphy points out the severe pain Miles was in from various physical ailments and the depression he suffered. Anyone who might encounter Miles during these times might not have pretty story to tell. (I know people who’d act the same if they didn’t have a nap, let alone being on painkillers, still in pain and coming off a grueling concert tour).

Miles Beyond is worth picking up. It’s not lite fair. It’s being regaled by a sailor who’s come home after years at sea; years on adventures in places we’ve never been and never will experience, but places, if you’re a fan of Miles, that you have questions about and interest in. Pull up a chair and listen to Miles’ friend speak. Murphy is not a great writer (nor is he trying to be). But I suggest that in the entertainment world that can be filled with backstabbers and hangers-on, Murphy was a great friend.

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