If you ever needed proof that a magazine can have a love affair with a musician, you're holding it in your hands. For DownBeat, the preeminent publication of the jazz world, Miles Dewey Davis was one of its most cherished subjects. Since it began covering the jazz scene in 1939, no other artist has been more diligently chronicled in its pages than Davis.
The beauty of this collection is seeing the development of an artist over time. The reviews of his music go from quietly introducing a new talent to revering, perhaps, the greatest jazz artist of his generation. The feature articles begin with a very young, very polite Davis lamenting, “I've worked so little. I could probably tell you where I was playing any night in the last three years.” As he develops, the interviews show Davis gaining confidence and stature, showing swagger and becoming the over-the-top, say-it-like-it-is showman that made every interview an event.
The Miles Davis Reader compiles more than 200 news stories, feature articles, and reviews by some of the greatest writers in jazz into one volume. It delivers a patchwork of his words and music – in the moment, as they happened.
With several lengthy features added along with a dozen new photographs, this new edition is a beautiful series of snapshots, a year-by-year ride through the many phases of Davis as an artist and as a man.
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