Miles Davis, once removed

One time I was asked to attend an event–one of those Miles Davis events, some album cover art thing again–and when I got there I was literally the only person from the jazz world present. No critics, no players, no fans that I could tell. A lot of arty types, and some very beautiful women, and dudes in slick suits and bling. There was no food and the scenesters started splitting. I looked at all the paintings (alas, I’m an art ignoramus) and was about to leave when the publicist grabbed me and said she wanted me to meet Miles’ daughter. I was introduced. Miles’ daughter looked bored and tired and sick to death of hangers on and sycophants and especially critics. She rolled her eyes, sighed, and turned away without saying a word. The publicist blanched but I remember thinking how cool…I was just totally dissed by Miles Davis’ daughter. It was too perfect. It was almost like having a Miles Davis experience. Jazz was once full of Miles Davis experiences. His raspy voice, his sighs, his sting. Jazz musicians tell and retell those stories their whole lives. Critics still wince remembering their own painful encounters. Alas, I’d come along too late for that. But this was the next best thing. A story I’d be telling for years. His son, though, was a real disappointment, friendly, polite, affable and apparently pleased to meet me. A nice guy. We talked a while, and I wondered if he was adopted. OK, I didn’t. That’s ridiculous. But what a contrast. Anyway, the event was pretty dull, but Miles Davis’ daughter made my night. I met her again later, at some other function, and she was perfectly sweet. But I had lucked out that first time and caught her on a bad night. When you’re a critic with lots of readers you get a lot of fawning attention, it’s unavoidable. It used to drive me nuts, every one being so nice to me. Secretly I couldn’t stand it. So getting the full Miles from someone who was part Miles…that was priceless. One of my favorite jazz memories, in fact. I had my own Miles Davis experience, once removed.

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