RE: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled jazz/Davis as icon for most of the wron g reasons

From: Todd Mason (
Date: 29 Nov 2001

Of course, this is because in most ways Davis was apparently immensely unpleasant, whether beating Cicely Tyson during their marriage, exploiting his godhead among sycophants to casually damage the careers of the likes of Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and even John Coltrane.

John "Dizzy" Gillespie, by all accounts a genuinely kind gentleman, was famously reading the Davis memoir on an overnight plane flight, during the RHYTHMSTICK orchestra tour, and was moved to shout "You lying m-f-!" at one point while doing so. So perhaps not for all does MF imply European descent so much as, well, a Nero-esque approach to the world.

The single most overrated figure in jazz, despite being a genius, and it's notable how much the "unhip" 3rd Stream folk (Dave Brubeck, John Lewis, Gil Evans, Chico Hamilton) reached out to and fostered the free-jazz players, while Davis retreated into often self-indulgent fusion, presumably the sterling counter-example to Coltrane, et al.'s, "anti-jazz."

Are any of Artie Shaw's novels remotely hardboiled/noirish, btw?

-----Original Message----- From: John Williams [mailto:]

Mark Sullivan wrote:
> Didn't Miles Davis also do some pimping (and heroin)? Does he write
> much about it in his autobiography?
MIles' autobiog is a very tough read, and makes no attempt to portray the author as remotely likable. There's certainly plenty of heroin use. I don't recall out and out pimping, though it's a tough call as to whether Miles was more a misogynist or simply a misanthropist. One interesting linguistic sidelight is that Miles makes abundantly clear that the word 'motherfucker'
(possibly the most used word in the book) is at root a synonym for 'white man' which kind of explains it's enduring power.

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