Monday, June 30, 2008

Miles: The Autobiography & Miles and Me

Miles: The Autobiography & Miles and Me
The Remarkable Dual Journey of Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe
Antonio G. Pereira © 2008 Antonio G. Pereira

Miles: The Autobiography by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe (Published by Simon and Schuster), and Quincy Troupe's follow-up, Miles and Me (Published by University of California Press), are two great pieces of American Literature. In his autobiography, Miles Davis put down his life for posterity. And his choosing of Author, Editor, Journalist and Poet, Quincy Troupe to assist him in this, assured that the story was told correctly. His accurate (and often times brutal) honesty, spared no one; including himself. The Music Critics, portrayed by him (with a few notable exceptions, Leonard Feather, Nat Hentoff and Ralph J. Gleason), as a bunch of know-nothing freeloaders, reluctantly learning as they were led along with each innovation Post-Dixieland (and able to rewrite history later on, in their all-access to publishing {Albert Goldman comes to mind}), are given their just desserts and more. Miles says just about everything many were thinking, but didn't say; and Quincy Troupe took it all down, in detail. Miles deep friendship and admiration for Arranger and Musician Gil Evans, and among others, everyone from Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan to Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Bill Evans, John Coltrane to Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Sly Stone and Prince, make great reading (I wish he had said more about his mentoring and helping the marvelously talented Singer and Pianist, Shirley Horn.); and Davis has many stories to tell. Strangely, Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, though a very talented musician, begins to come off as someone out of his depth, and a bit of a bumpkin. Mr. Troupe's own book (which is the follow up to the autobiography), Miles and Me, is one hell of a magnum opus. A clear window into the heart of what it was like to work with Miles Davis. He did not publish it until many, many years after Davis' passing. It's obvious that Mr. Troupe went through quite a catharsis to write this book, and one has the feeling that he felt much better when it was done. Miles is pictured as a very complex, difficult-to-know, human being. And Mr. Troupe's relationship with him was not always an easy one. (Their association began when Troupe did a remarkable two-part interview with Miles Davis for Spin Magazine, in the Nov. and Dec. 1985 issues.) But this book is a wonderful work. Easily a piece of American History that will be read and studied (and probably argued over), long after we have all met our maker (and probably Miles too!). I think to best enjoy this book, put on one of Miles records, and play it softly in the background while you are reading.

Additionally, you can find a wonderful, full colour photograph, of John Lennon and Yoko Ono with Miles Davis at: (Just click on John Lennon Pictures, on the left hand side, after entering the site and choosing your language.)

A final note. Quincy Troupe gave quite an interesting and enlightening interview to The American Poetry Review. You can read it here:

And lastly. In his final group, Miles Davis had an exceptional Bassist/Guitarist named Foley McCreary, who was right out of the tradition of Jimi Hendrix and Pete Cosey. Foley McCreary's very fascinating website is:

Antonio Pereira

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dictionary Be Bop Blues or Sunday In The Quicksand With George

Dictionary Be Bop Blues
Sunday In The Quicksand With George
Antonio G. Pereira © 1988, 2001, 2008 Antonio G. Pereira


The Fickle Public's Farblungent Photographic Imagination's

Idea of me is a Fool's Fantasy

Fictitiously Figuring that I am far out while

Funky Times are upon us is similar to setting

A Phaser on stun and pointing it at hoping you

Don't look two faced but you are my fellow americans

Fellow Americans?

Fleecing Me of every phenomenon I fantasized

And philandering me with a phlebitic philistine

Philosophy that even Tom, Dick and Harry couldn't

Be fooled with by the next fast talking, phony

Phi Betta Kappa philadelphia lawyer politician

Proselytizing phantasmagorical delusions of

Grandeur Act II.

Modus Operandi being a no count no good fictitious

Face-Saving, flagwaving, filthy apple pie overdone to

Perfection convincingly silver tounged 2 dollar throughbred

Corporately creaming over a nation of nitwits

Spread evenly, and thinking they're awake in ecstasy

When in reality they're really fast asleep, Oh Say

Can you see aren't we the beautiful people bossa nova.

Usually waking up when it's too late on time, I smell your

Breath, I smell your armpits, your family smells around

the dinner table, patriot preaching ferret to ferret of

Far off lands across the city, across the world

Away from you, far, far away

As far away from you as they can get

Far, far away

As far as the eye can see

Far, far away, away

Far, far away, away

Far, far away, away

Far Far Away