Miles-Davis2

I remember watching an episode of the Arsenio Hall show when Miles Davis was a guest.

I must admit that even though I knew Jazz music was one of the musical art forms of the African American experience, it never spoke to me in the same way as Soul/R&B.

It felt so grown up and inaccessible.

Besides, by the early 1990’s I felt that Jazz had totally crossed over and was more or less a genre of music appreciated and claimed by the white population than the Black.

Jazz started resonating with me in a small way when I watched Bill Cosby pay homage to Jazz greats such as John Coltrane and Charlie “Yardbird” Parker on his show.

I had always associated Jazz with hopeless pain suffering. To me it was unlike gospel which had a redemptive and uplifting vibe.

I recall the Billie Holiday biopic starring Diana Ross with Holiday’s extensive use of Heroin and her finally succumbing to her addictions.

Unfortunately these were always the associated images of Jazz for me.

However, that was before I schooled myself on this unique genre.

Enter Miles Davis….

I was- for a lack of a better word-blown away by Miles’s performance on Arsenio!!!

Miles connected it all.

He was Cool, Sensuous, Modern, Relevant, Polished and Poised!!

After his performance I remember him sitting down to talk to Arsenio.

That voice….

When I heard his rasp I thought-Survivor, Legend, etc.

I loved hearing Miles wax about the techniques he picked up over the years to perfect his playing.

Also, Miles was in the game to stay.

Arsenio called him an innovator.

During Miles later years, a symbiotic relationship between Jazz and Hip Hop had started to emerge- no doubt largely influenced by Miles.

Sometimes it seems that Jazz as a music genre is losing its influence.

I guess this is debatable….

Spike Lee’s Mo Better Blues reminds me a little of Miles Davis.

The personification of style portrayed by Denzel and Wesley in the movie has a lot to do with it.

Miles’s legacy is more than that of a musician. It is even more than his enormous contribution to Jazz.

It is the way he carried himself-like an Ebony prince.

Miles Davis..Ebony Cool

Until Next Time…

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