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Miles: The Autobiography

Miles: The Autobiography - Miles Davis, Quincy Troupe Miles is amazingly good and badI just finished Miles Davis’s autobiography, Miles: The Autobiography. In all that he was, Miles was amazing. An amazing musical mind, amazing in his drug addictions, amazingly selfish, amazingly genius, amazingly stylish, amazingly angry, and amazingly racist, are all aspects of Miles. The book was a blast to read because it was written in Miles’ conversational tone. Think of Richard Pryor reading Lewis Carroll, “That Cheshire Cat was grinning like a mutherf*@%er!” This is part what makes Miles seem so real, as well as so much fun to read. You never know what he will say next or about whom. Miles is a seer. He sees people’s love, their creativity, their talent, their faults, and their shortcomings. This is true for everyone in Miles’ life except for Miles himself. There is no doubt that Miles loved so many folks in his life, his parents, Dizzy, Train, and of course Bird, as well as many of the women in his life. But Miles had no use for many in his world, and no respect for them. He pimped some of the women in his life; and Miles never had a problem wasn't either directly or indirectly caused by white people. It is not surprising that a young black man in East St. Louis, coming of age in the 1940’s, experienced prejudice and racism. However, over the course of his life, Miles seemed more and more focused on the evils of white people, and less and less tolerant. As I read about Miles’ experiences of the 1970’s and ‘80’s, I heard Miles sound more and more like the older generation in my small Tennessee hometown. Change the word black to white, and Miles spewed hatred just like the old men found each morning on the courthouse square. This is what makes Miles amazingly sad. For a man of such light, love, and creativity to not see that hate is hate makes Miles one of the saddest artist of the 20th century. Miles allows those who influenced his youth win, by turning into the very same type of person. Thankfully, we have the music Miles created, before the drugs, anger and hatred turned out the light.