Miles Davis the Definitive Biography

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9780002552226: Miles Davis the Definitive Biography

This revised edition of Ian Carr's biography of Miles Davis throws new light on his life and career from the early days in New York, with Charlie Parker, to his Birth of the Cool band, through his drug addiction in the early 1950s, and the years of extraordinary achievements during which he signed with Columbia, and drew to his band such unequalled talents as John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly and Cannonball Adderly. Ian Carr illuminates Davis's genius for growth and renewal during the 1960s and 1970s, with new interviews, information and insights. Carr has produced a detailed description of Miles's dark reclusive period, 1975-1980, with first-hand accounts of his descent towards disintegration.

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About the Author:

Ian Carr was born in Scotland and educated at Kings College, Newcastle. He is a professional musician who has done regular jazz broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and has written for the BBC Music Magazine. He is the author of Music Outside (1973) and Keith Jarrett, the Man and his Music (1991).

From Kirkus Reviews:

In the 17 years since Carr's biography of the mercurial trumpet genius was published, Miles has died and lots of new material has surfaced (including Davis's hilariously profane autobiography). So Carr has produced a new life, nearly twice the length of the original. Throughout his career, Davis seemed an enigmatic genius, brusque to the point of rudeness, yet capable of a warm lyricism in his art. Although he was the product of an affluent, upper-middle-class family, he cultivated the demeanor of a surly street hustler. Carr sums up the legendary Davis temperament nicely: ``The inscrutability, the unpredictability, the refusal to be pinned down, the sudden juxtapositions of gentleness and violence.'' The same qualities could be found in his art, as he moved restlessly from the pioneering days of bebop and a youthful apprenticeship with the music's founder, Charlie Parker, through his own rapid-fire series of innovationsthe brilliant ``cool'' and orchestral recordings with arranger Gil Evans, the development of modal-based post-bop with his excellent small groups of the '50s and '60s, his developing interest and work with electric bands, right up to his fascinating, if uneven, post-modernist works of the '80s. Carr recounts these developments intelligently. A musician himself, he is particularly good on the micro-level analysis of recordings and concerts, but his macro-analysis is plagued at times by odd generalizations about ``Western'' and ``non-Western'' elements ostensibly struggling for the upper hand in Davis's music. Though some fans may think he overrates the late recordings with their funk/pop backings, he offers a useful corrective to other writers' casual dismissal of those experiments. Finally, this leviathan would have benefited from some judicious cutting; Carr lets interviews run on too long, and there is a certain repetitiveness that strains the reader's patience for the new material. Despite minor flaws, a generally thoughtful and perceptive reading of the turbulent life and singular work of one of the giants of American music. (40 b&w photos) -- Copyright 1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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