• by Miles Davis
  • Narrated by Dion Graham
  • 16 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A man untroubled by his own contradictions

It's hard to give a rating to this book. It's a very frank and open and detailed account of Davis's life. It's also troubling and frustrating. Taken on its own terms, it absolutely succeeds in what it sets out to do. Whether you come out at the end believing that Davis is a suitable subject for a biography is another story. One thing is for sure, this book is never boring.

Actually, compared with a lot of the celebrity memoirs coming out these days, there's no question Miles deserves his say. It's just distressing to see so little evidence of personal growth over the course of his lifetime.

The person who comes across in this book is someone who only ever cared about music, over and above family, friends, relationships, fans, or anything else in this world. If you were looking to find some revelation about why Miles behaved the way he did in front of an audience, it appears that he really didn't care about the audience. He was there to play, and if you were there to listen that was fine, but he wasn't there to entertain you.

As for his contradictions, sometimes I wonder if his ghostwriter (Quincey Troupe) juxtaposed them on purpose or not. Sometimes he says that music is always music, and other times he says that old music is dead. Sometimes he says that women have to be interesting, but the way he describes them suggests the opposite. Sometimes he says that he never cared about what color someone was, but most of the time he expresses a vehement hatred of white people. I have no doubt that he encountered a good deal of racism in his life, but he also seems to have gone out of his way to look for signs of it even when people were simply trying to reach out to him. Again, I have to wonder if Quincey Troupe consciously constructed those episodes to convey that.

I have to say that regardless of how Miles himself comes across, the first half of the book detailing the jazz scene in New York City in the 40s and 50s is absolutely fascinating. This is a first-person account by someone who was there and in the middle of it and connected to everyone who was anyone.

Quincey Troupe did an incredible job of putting this narrative together and making it sound like a monologue Miles could have delivered. Be forewarned that Miles uses a lot of profanity. Dion Graham does a creditable job of imitating Miles's breathy, raspy voice. There were times that I forgot it was not Miles actually speaking this book. However, this also makes it a difficult read if you're in the car or anywhere else with a lot of ambient noise.
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- Barry "My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter."

M%$tha F#!*in' great narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It's length. It was long. If I didn't know better, I'd have said Miles was reading it.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Good insight by the author in explaining the position of the book being written with the constant expletives. The way Miles spoke. It did seem extreme and not a book I could recommend to a lot of audiences.

What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

At this length, I'd have never picked up the book. That's why i choose Audible.

What else would you have wanted to know about Miles Davis’s life?

Perhaps a little more of the inspiration behind specific albums and songs.

Any additional comments?

Disappointed that he grew up in the time and place he did that left him feeling the way he did about being profiled as he implied and his impression/generalization of many of us without oppressive instincts. All this North of the Mason/Dixon line.

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- Robert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-01-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.