Miles Beyond: The Electric Explorations of Miles Davis, 1967-1991

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Billboard Books, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
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One of the 20th-century's authentic musical geniuses, Miles Davis was aioneer of such jazz styles as cool, hardbop, and the fusion of orchestralusic and jazz in his work with arranger Gil Evans. Yet, when he made hisoldest move in the late 1960s and began to experiment with rock and Africanusic, giving birth to what became known as "fusion" or "jazz-rock", Davislienated many of his jazz fans.;This biography offers an in-depthxploration of Miles Davis's controversial electric period and the violentplit of sentiment that it produced within the jazz community. Based onesearch, both primary material and first-hand recollections by over 50usicians, partners, producers and artists, author Paul Tingen offers facts,nsights and stories about Miles's remarkable artistic and personal life. Inoing so, he provides a perspective on Miles's working methods as well as ann-depth analysis of the music, in historical order, offering annderstanding of the development of Miles's music from 1967 to 1991, a periodhat has been both neglected and misunderstood.;Among those interviewed are

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Miles beyond: the electric explorations of Miles Davis, 1967-1991

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Several fine Davis biographies have appeared over the past few years, mostly ignoring or downplaying much of the music discussed here by Tingen, a music journalist based in Scotland and California ... Read full review

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This book has some good information about Miles' later work in the "electric realm" in it but there are some problems with Tingen's tome. First of all, the writer makes far too many assertions about Miles' life philosophy and approach to music to make them match his own beliefs. The phrase "Beginner's Mind" originally coined by Shunryu Suzuki (the man who brought Zen teaching to America) is used over and over again. I have never once read or seen anything where Miles makes a reference to Zen - and I have read many biographies, hundreds of liner notes, and so on. I've probably done as much if not more research on Miles than Tingen. Tingen also inadvertently reveals an obvious appreciation (that borders on hero-worship) for Brian Eno. He over-uses the word "ambient" to the point of annoyance and makes silly proclamations that 'In a Silent Way' is ambient music. Does this man even understand what ambient music is and its purpose (as defined by Mr Eno). Ambient music isn't meant to draw the listener into a deep listening experience. It's intended to be art that one doesn't have to concentrate on in order to appreciate it. That is hardly what 'In a Silent Way' is all about. Like many Miles biographers, Tingen also takes it upon himself to play critic to the point of frustration (much like Jack Chambers in his Milestones volumes) about sessions that were failures - One example is the sessions that brought us the release "Big Fun" that is still in print and has even been remastered into SACD. Hardly a failure huh? When I read books about Miles or any other musician, I really could not care less what the biographer thinks of the music. I read books like this to gather information about the sessions, get a sense of the chronology of the music, the contributors, and what made the musician "tick". Worst of all, Tingen is also incredibly arrogant, asserting that certain works such as "A Tribute to Jack Johnson" should have been shorter and even points to sections that should have been removed. What? Who does this guy think he is anyway? Why doesn't he go create his own music if he doesn't like what he's hearing? 

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About the author (2001)

Paul Tingen is a Scotland-based music journalist who has written for publications in the US, UK, Japan, and Australia for over 14 years.

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