Miles Davis Stories


Miles Davis Stories

Everyone has ONE truly hilarious Miles Davis story! Over the years, I have asked musicians for their stories and invariably there was that raspy vocal imitation and some really fun things that Miles said or did. Let's share them here!

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Latest Activity: Jan 21, 2016

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Comment by metin düzakın on March 14, 2011 at 12:05pm

Hello Everyone,
Being a new kid hereabout, let me manifest what happens to me almost every time I take time to feed myself by Miles Davis' flying chords.

My story should have read more complicated than the following, but sometime words have less power than we think they do.

When I push the "play" button, let say for "Fiesta", there occurs an act of re-creation of what was synthesized in Davis' own brain, or at least hopefuly a similar "thing". The "thing" may not necessarily needs a trompet, but it does and should, take a media just to be conveyed, where eventually,by fortune, it is a trompet in front of the the lips, a trompet, I believe, that has a ghost in it. The re-created "thing" virtually takes none of a physical tool, it is like in quantum physics, has its occurance at a brain out there and in and mine. I always have to remind myself that it happens as simply as a man out there, plays a trompet and I simply listen. But it doesn't help. The magic repeats itself on each time.
I think I'll need these tunes with me during my voyage from this life to another.

Remain well tuned dear everyone,
Metin Düzakın

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on March 11, 2011 at 4:23pm

Pittsburgh Drummer Chuck Spatafore told me a good one.  He was in NYC and went to Birdland to hear Miles. During the break there were a few musicians that went outside to talk and have a cigarette. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a pack of Pall Malls.  Miles bummed a smoke from him and then put the entire pack in his own pocket.


A year later (might have been 1958 when Miles was at the Midway) Chuck went down to see him again.  When he got a chance to greet Miles, Miles took one look at him and said "Pall Malls" reached in his pocket and gave Chuck a fresh pack of Pall Malls.

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on March 11, 2011 at 4:17pm

I first met Miles in person when I was 17 years old.  I was at the Saturday matinee at the famous Crawford Grill #2 in Pittsburgh to hear J.J. Johnson and his quintet featuring Bobby Jasper, Tommy Flanagan and Elvin Jones (I forget who was on bass) and Miles was in town and stopped by to hear J.J.. I was standing at the jukebox at the end of the stage when Miles walked up beside me.  I said "Hey Miles!" He responded "How ya doing kid." 


A few months later (June, 1958) was my high school prom. (I graduated from the famous Westinghouse H.S. in Pittsburgh that produced Mary Lou Williams, Billy Strayhorn, Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal, Grover Mitchell, Dakota Staton, Al Aarons, Adam Wade and many slightly lesser lights.) After the prom we (two couples) walked to the Midway Lounge on Penn Avenue to hear some jazz... not knowing in advance who was appearing there.  Turns out it was the Miles Davis Sextet with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Bill Evans, Jimmy Cobb and Paul Chambers.  For the set we heard Miles played only one number, then left the stage and sat at the bar so he could just listen to Coltrane blow.  What an unforgettable night.

Comment by Evette Dorham on March 11, 2011 at 3:36pm
Thanks for the invite!
Comment by Jo Hogan on June 17, 2009 at 9:56am
I wish I had a personal story to tell. I have just enjoyed being a fan. However enjoy reading your experiences. Thanks for sharing
Comment by Saul Alvarado on May 28, 2009 at 6:24pm
Seems that this groups will be fun
Comment by Warren Benbow on May 11, 2009 at 12:43pm
Thanks Sue!
Comment by Sue Auclair on May 7, 2009 at 7:53pm
Great! Exactly what I'm talking about! Funny stuff. Mostly every musician I know who knew Miles has a saga like this!
Comment by Richard Harris on May 7, 2009 at 7:28pm
Maynard Ferguson related a story about Miles when both Maynard and the Birdland Big Band and Miles played on the same bill. Maynard was standing backstage with Miles shortly after Miles had finished his set, and a gentleman from the crowd who was a big Miles fan introduced himself to Miles, and according to Maynard, was treated very graciously by Miles. The gentleman then introduced his 11 year old son to Miles, who told Miles he had played the best he had ever played that night, and Miles said to the kid, in his typical raspy voice, "How the hell would you know the difference?"

Maynard went backstage and Miles was absolutely cracking up at his comment to the kid!

Comment by Sue Auclair on May 7, 2009 at 8:38am
When I was dating George Russell, [some years ago!], one night, we went to see Miles at Boston's Paul's Mall. The band was hot, hot, hot. After the show, we went backstage to say hello to Miles. George said, "Miles, MAN your playing was out of site!" Miles said [in his typically raspy voice], "Never mind how I played, how did I look?"

George and I cracked up!

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