to Miles Davis

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Personal / Writing / Letters /

A lifetime can slip away while we fail to get around to letting our heroes know how we feel. I had the priviledge of running into Fellini once and knew that he knew something from my face: what I can’t be sure. Part of what I finally mustered to Miles Davis follows.

Dear Miles Davis,

I phoned Teo Macero tonight because after listening to great music for maybe twenty-eight of my thirty-nine years, because after listening to you with Bird, with your beautifully disciplined, free, individual, independently coordinated sextet of the late fifties, through the discoveries, surprises (not all of them to my liking) … Miles Ahead, Porgy & Bess!!!, Sketches of Spain … (I told Teo tonight that I didn’t really get behind that for a dozen or two listenings, but now it haunts me, I find it better than the guitar concerto which I also enjoy, but in yours — the loneliness, the distance, the pain, the bass rhythms, that bassoon …), the incredible move to In a Silent Way (I would have called anybody a liar who said that there could possibly be a better Miles Davis record than Kind of Blue), still nothing could have prepared me for … because after maybe a hundred listenings over the last six months … to AghartaAgharta … I knew I had to tell somebody connected with Agharta that you (you plural? You singular?) have made a quantum leap in the genius of twentieth-century music.

Note: I hope you recognize Teo Macero
to be Miles’ long-time A&R man, editor, engineer, mixer, etc.: a major force at Columbia, a major part of what “Miles” was, a major part of twentieth-century music. Teo started out as a composer who also played tenor sax. What he became is something I’m not sure there’s much historical precedent for: like what Orson Wells became after starting out as an “actor.”

I may come back and process more from that long letter. I’ll tell you now though: I drank an awful lot of Martinis … and listened to an awful lot ofAgharta … while writing it.


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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