THE MILES DAVIS READER > Interviews and Features from DownBeat Magazine by Frank Alkyer

This collection enables fans and scholars of Miles to track the reception of a long, mostly distinguished, sometimes uneven, but always provocative career, from his first days with Charlie Parker in 1946 to his final concert at Montreux in 1991, when he took an unexpected backwards look at an earlier phase of his multi-directional career.Label: HAL LEONARD
Rating: ★★★☆☆

This collection enables fans and scholars of Miles to track the reception of a long, mostly distinguished, sometimes uneven, but always provocative career, from his first days with Charlie Parker in 1946 to his final concert at Montreux in 1991, when he took an unexpected backwards look at an earlier phase of his multi-directional career. And the process of evaluating the trumpeter’s reinventions of jazz continues to generate debate. If at least one critic writing during Miles’ brief retirement in the late-70s thought that his orchestral arrangements with Gil Evans, which he revisited in the final concert, were just a cul-de-sac in a continual series of refinements upon the bop legacy he inherited from Bird and Dizzy Gillespie, other selections from this infinitely browsable anthology offer contrary assessments of his career and influence. The principle of including all features, reviews, and news items pertaining to the Prince of Darkness in their entirety is high-minded, but also leads to much unnecessary factual repetition and pointless inclusions. Even some basic recognition of the many studious biographies that have been published since Miles’ death would have provided a much-needed editorial perspective for what amounts to a chronological array of press clippings sorted only by genre.