Universally acclaimed as a musical genius, Miles Davis was one of the most important and influential musicians in the world. Here, Miles speaks out about his extraordinary life. Miles: The Autobiography, like Miles himself, holds nothing back. For the first time Miles talks about his five-year silence. He speaks frankly and openly about his drug problem and how he overcame it. He condemns the racism he encountered in the music business and in American society generally. And he discusses the women in his life. But above all, Miles talks about music and musicians, including the legends he has played with over the years: Bird, Dizzy, Monk, Trane, Mingus, and many others. The man who gave us some of the most exciting music of the twentieth century here gives us a compelling and fascinating autobiography.
©1989 Miles Davis. All rights reserved. (P)2012 AudioGo
I usually enjoy reading books by black artists who struggled with racism and a difficult life to achieve great success. I had heard of Miles and enjoyed his music over the years, but I knew nothing about him. One of the reasons I bought this book was the fantastic narrator, Dion Graham - one of my favorites. Dion somehow manages to sound like an old black musician with a gravely voice and dirty mouth. Dion has the talent to sound like almost anybody and can make a mediocre book great.
I listened to about two hours of this book and had to quit. Miles was a black child of well-off parents and lots of advantages. He worked hard at his music, is very gifted and he knows it. He comes off in this book as an unpleasant old man who manages to insert "mfer" into almost every paragraph. I'm not offended by bad language when it works in the book, but it gets tiresome in this one.
I like to be enlightened and educated by books like this, but I was bored by the tone and attitude of this gifted but unpleasant man. Give it a pass.
A very raw and uncut look into the mind of Miles. One of the most influential jazz artists of all times takes us along for the crazy ride that was his life and holds nothing back. His struggles with racism, drugs, alcoholism, and the many woman that came through his life intertwine to paint a story of a life of survival as he struggles with greatness.
Too long for anyone but a serious student of the music, not a lot of technical music theory discussion. Covers virtually his entire life, and he is candid about the self-abuse that doubtless shortened it. More than anything else, he tries to review and explain all the significant musical choices he made: what influences were the strongest at which time, why did he choose to play with the musicians that he did, and what led him to adopt each of the styles he progressed through. Any exposure to this will lead you promptly back to the music.
Miles would also agree that his book is a mothafucka. great voice. great tone. morally ambiguous and disturbingly influential, it's a celebration of jazz, or as Miles would say, "Black Music.”
Prerequisite : 3+ years of experience listening to intense amounts of jazz from 1939-1975 . Lots of name dropping.
The performance of this book is fantastic. Amazing. It felt like having Miles Davis whispering in my ear telling me how it felt to change music over and over again over decades. Man, what a gift. I've never picked up the book, but because the text flows so rhythmically, I wager to guess it's best consumed as the spoken word. Dion Graham, thank you!
What isn't memorable? In fact, there are some scenes I may never get out of my head. In fact, I think the book's too candid. It's just plain nasty and course at times, and at other times utterly brilliant. But that's Miles. Love it or leave it. I love it. There's an important message in the book about not comprimising your art; about having low tolerance for the fake and the phony; about being true to yourself and not being afraid of holding your ground and expressing your creativity; about being your own man (or woman) and not giving much thought to the critics. That was the biggest takeaway for me.
At times I had to remind myself that Miles himself was NOT reading to me. I just had to marvel at the rhythm, the timing and the heart-felt emotion with which Graham reads certain passages. Like I said, it's a gift for all of us to enjoy.
At times, it's a bit revolting, off-putting, outrageous. At other times funny, endearing, thought-provoking. In the end, there is sadness because I believe this man had more music in him. He says so himself, that he felt an urgency to create music, stronger than when he started. That saddened me.
This book is an unvarnished, honest, brilliant, course and profane work of a musical genius. I may not like everything Miles says in the book or how he conducted himself in his life, but he made me think and I value that. Also, he's real. He's human. You know that no one is perfect. And you know that life isn't perfect neither. Go out into the world and you'll see elements of the sublime and of the coarsest profanity. That's life and Miles was keepin' it real until the very end. You have to check it out.
Honest, Intense, Uncompromising
Huckleberry Finn came to mind while listening to the story of Miles Davis. "Miles: The Autobiography" is far more relevant and real than the romantic Americana tale by Mark Twain. Tales of coming of age with racism and racial profiling, spoken in the language of a black man, is far more powerful and striking than the white country boy anecdotes of fictional Huck Finn. Huck Finn is a gentle summer rain and Miles is a thundering downpour.
When Miles first arrives in NYC after leaving East St. Louis at age 18 is pretty amazing stuff.
Miles' struggle and descent into the depths of heroin addiction and his eventual recovery is quite a frightening ride.
Tales of playing music with jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk and Billy Eckstine filled in a number of gaps in my knowledge of Miles and these musicians as well. Some funny road stories too. This is one of my favorite audiobooks so far!
Air Force Veteran, Retired NYC correction officer
a jazz legend
This was my first book read by Dion Graham and he had the raspy voice of Miles down to perfection, it gave you the feeling Miles was talking to you about his life and music this has become one of my favorite audible books
Just amazed at how many people Miles played with and his influence on jazz
If you love jazz this is a must listen.
Through many ups and Miles Davis followed his passion until the very end!
I listened to this during a rough time in my life. This story inspired me to carry on.
His raspy voice reminded me of Miles'.
When the guy touched Miles' horn and thanked Miles.
Mr Graham's reading was "right on" although in the beginning I didn't think I could listen to that low raspiness for a whole book! However, similar to the unusual voice in "A Prayer for Owen Meeny", once the story takes you, the voice becomes it's vehicle! Mr Graham WAS Miles Davis and the story gives you such a musical history ride through the country and abroad. It says so much about the culture of the United States during the segregational times, the integrational times and of course, the turbulent times of the 60s & 70s and Miles did not "mince" any words or thoughts on all of those times!
He was honest and candid about his own personal struggles and much of his personal life, but always so very excited about the music! Much of the technical musical chat was beyond my understanding, yet it added to the sense of music and muscians as true art and artists... I went into the computer often during the "read" to listen to certain pieces that he discussed both for their musical and personal relevance and I now have my own Miles Davis collection!
I watched the French movie "Ascenseur pour l'echafaud" just to hear the sound track he wrote and his interpretation of Rodrigo's "Concerto de Aranjuez" is amazing! He gave credit and criticism to all he came in contact with and adapted himself to the changes in music, not so much to stay popular, but because the creation and interpretation of sound was truly who he was and he couldn't keep playing that "same ole boring .$#^**%! stuff"
That Miles was not edited. That the author translated Miles' voice. His words have a rhythmic value just like his music. The author translated this in it's native value. That in itself, a work of art.
Miles' father. He never went into doubt about his son's potential.
Miles realizing a new environment (France) altered his own beingness. And he rose above fixed conditions.
The love and devotion of Miles' father to his son. The father admitting he could not help Miles' conquer the drug addiction.
I do not think anyone could outdo this autobiography. The author has met with his obligations to introduce the spirit of Miles Davis to others. This is a work of art and a labor of love. Thank you for you labor of love.
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