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John Palcewski's Journal

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Miles & Me

“Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters With Miles Davis,” Edited by Paul Maher Jr. and Michael K. Door, Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press, 2008. Four star Amazon.com review here.

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Just to respond to the comment re: Miles' Definition of "Jazz..."

Mm. Well, I don't where to go with that. I mean, the foundation of a lot of adjectives involved with any pursuits that of anyone who would currently be described as "African-American" that were created by Caucasians at the time were likely negative.

It's interesting that he describes it as such; it may have been exactly that at the start, but it has come to mean something entirely different, something that, to my mind, covers the largest, most diverse, most unique and most American of all musical forms.

But see, I think "Jazz" is about adapting too, riffing off of the melody, being capable of change. Maybe Miles could have used a bit more Jazz OFF the bandstand.

Fun related celeb fact: I taught Cicely Tyson to juggle.

Re: Just to respond to the comment re: Miles' Definition of "Jazz..."

Yes, times change as does the English language and the meaning of words within it. Anyway, what I didn't put into the profile was the name of the "pretty Negro girl" who was there in his Riverside Drive apartment during one of the interviews. She was--you guessed it--Cicely Tyson. The three of us were standing in his living room and he grasped her chin with his thumb and fingers, turned to me, and said: "Do you think this woman is beautiful?" It was one of his many Whitey tests. I quickly said, honestly, "Absolutely, yes. She is." I guess I passed, because he later invited me to go up to Boston to see him perform at the Jazz Workshop.

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