Chuck Nessa

How many folks here have met Miles Davis?

64 posts in this topic

I first encountered Mr Davis in 1968. How about you.

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Maybe you can't call it a official "meeting" but in the Fall of 1968, when I was 14 I worked as a barback and busboy at a club called Duffy's Backstage in Rochester. I started working there as they needed extra help because Miles was there for a week and I was a friend the the owner's lazy son. During the first afternoon, as he was rehearsing the band and I was making the usual noises that a barback makes with the ice and glasses, Miles got on the mike and told the owner to get me the hell out of there, or words to that effect, and this rather effeminate valet Miles traveled with came running over waving his hands.

Scared the hell out of me.

For some reason I remember what they were paid: $5500 for the week.

That band had Tony Williams in it for sure, and maybe Chick Corea also. The following Summer they brought Miles back again, this time Jack DeJohnette was on drums.

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Thanks. That is what I was looking for. The first time I met MD he offered to break my arm. :-)

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Perhaps the thread title should be "How Many People Enjoyed Meeting Miles Davis?".

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I first encountered Mr Davis in 1968. How about you.

Same. At the Plugged Nickel I was trying to set up an interview with Wayne Shorter, and Miles said hoarsely from across the short wall of the club, "Don't tell him anything, Wayne!"

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January, 1970. Friends and I went to see the Lost Quintet at the Cellar Door. Miles passed by me on his way to the stage.

I said, "Hi Miles! How's your wife?" He replied, "Which one?"

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unfortunately, i met Miles many times during the '60s. never a pleasant experience. a woman i knew sued him after he attacked her and held her against her will. he settled out of court. i still have a copy of a letter she wrote to the editor of Vanity Fair referring to the incident after they ran an interview with him.

and eerily, i was next door to him in a doctor's office when he died in a Santa Monica hospital!

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My sister used to work at a well-known music hall(1971), and she said they saw Miles snorting coke in a rest room. When he came out, some guy asked him excitedly, "Miles, what do you think about the four valve trumpet?" Miles answered, in that hoarse voice, "Fuck the four valve trumpet!"

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I met him at Lennie's On The Turnpike in Boston in 67 or 68.

I had finished medical school & was in Boston for my internship & residency.

Lennie knew I was a physician.

Wayne wasn't "feeling well". Lennie asked me to take a look at him in the dressing room.

Miles was there & asked me "can he play"?

He could & Miles couldn't have been nicer.

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I first encountered Mr Davis in 1968. How about you.

I have nothing to add - but good topic, Chuck!

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I met him at a Watersons concert in Hull in 1971. He said he was thinking about changing direction and quizzed me about Cecil Sharp and morris dancing ribbons.

Didn't seem to go anywhere, though (though he may have worn some of those ribbons over the later years).

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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I met him at a Watersons concert in Hull in 1971. He said he was thinking about changing direction and quizzed me about Cecil Sharp and morris dancing ribbons.

Didn't seem to go anywhere, though (though he may have worn some of those ribbons over the later years).

:crazy:

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Miles personal souvenirs include an episode at the July 1969 Antibes concert by the Lost Quintet.

I was taking photos that day and had positioned myself right under the stage (oddly there were very few photographers at the concert that evening).

A few minutes into the concert, Miles positioned himself near where I was. He obviously did not want photos and showed his displeasure by stamping a foot to have photographers out of his sight...

I moved to a less visible position.

Several months later (November 1969) I planned a housewarming party after moving to a Left Bank apartment. Friends (and musician friends) were invited. Someone mentioned that the party was to be held on the evening of the Miles Davis concert at Salle Pleyel and said Miles should be invited.

The late critic Maurice Cullaz who knew Miles proposed to ask and invite him which he did. Unfortunately Miles was in the middle of a tour and was playing in Copenhagen the following day. and could not make it. (Miles was a noshow at the party but other guests that came and had a good time included Cecil Taylor, Sonny Murray, Archie Shepp, Grachan Moncur, Michel Portal among others). If Miles had come there would have been interesting encounters...

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Perhaps another topic"............those who NEARLY met Miles Davis?"

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Nearly or could have.

I went to 'The Both/And' in San Francisco ~1966 with a friend who brought his trumpet and sat in with the band so I guess I could have met him but I have always been too shy to meet famous people.

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Valerie, very interesting post! An observation I've made is that no women I've read or heard talk about Miles have overwhelmingly positive thoughts on him personally. Shirley Horn was one of the few that did whereas men have had little bad to say, especially all the musicians he worked with. Dave Liebman came across as more than a bit uncomfortable with Miles' personality in "The Miles Davis Story" documentary. I love his music but can't say I have the same respect for him as a person, men who beat women really creep me out.

Edited by CJ Shearn

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Thanks. That is what I was looking for. The first time I met MD he offered to break my arm. :-)

Why? Finish the story, Chuck...

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Thanks. That is what I was looking for. The first time I met MD he offered to break my arm. :-)

Why? Finish the story, Chuck...

Yes please extend yourself :lol:

And maybe even tell us about the 'second' or 'third' time you met Miles Davis.

I thought if Miles offered to break your arm it meant he kinda liked you.

Did he get any friendlier?

unfortunately, i met Miles many times during the '60s. never a pleasant experience. a woman i knew sued him after he attacked her and held her against her will. he settled out of court. i still have a copy of a letter she wrote to the editor of Vanity Fair referring to the incident after they ran an interview with him.

and eerily, i was next door to him in a doctor's office when he died in a Santa Monica hospital!

How did he hold her against her will?

Lock her in his dressing room? Tie her up?

Was Miles a stalker as well as a hitter?

Miles personal souvenirs include an episode at the July 1969 Antibes concert by the Lost Quintet.

I was taking photos that day and had positioned myself right under the stage (oddly there were very few photographers at the concert that evening).

A few minutes into the concert, Miles positioned himself near where I was. He obviously did not want photos and showed his displeasure by stamping a foot to have photographers out of his sight...

I moved to a less visible position.

Several months later (November 1969) I planned a housewarming party after moving to a Left Bank apartment. Friends (and musician friends) were invited. Someone mentioned that the party was to be held on the evening of the Miles Davis concert at Salle Pleyel and said Miles should be invited.

The late critic Maurice Cullaz who knew Miles proposed to ask and invite him which he did. Unfortunately Miles was in the middle of a tour and was playing in Copenhagen the following day. and could not make it. (Miles was a noshow at the party but other guests that came and had a good time included Cecil Taylor, Sonny Murray, Archie Shepp, Grachan Moncur, Michel Portal among others). If Miles had come there would have been interesting encounters...

Was Miles always cool in Europe?

Or was it just in the States he was a bit of a bastard?

Valerie, very interesting post! An observation I've made is that no women I've read or heard talk about Miles have overwhelmingly positive thoughts on him personally. Shirley Horn was one of the few that did whereas men have had little bad to say, especially all the musicians he worked with. Dave Liebman came across as more than a bit uncomfortable with Miles' personality in "The Miles Davis Story" documentary. I love his music but can't say I have the same respect for him as a person, men who beat women really creep me out.

I agree.

But you've gotta watch out for those Woman who beat men as well :)

Anyway, here is Juliette Greco 'celebrating' their love :lol:

http://www.guardian....006/may/25/jazz

Edited by freelancer

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I never met him myself but I've been told two stories that I believe are true. The first was from a friend of my father-in-law, who was in the chorus of West Side Story with Frances Davis when she was with Miles. They were on tour and Miles visited her on the bus one evening, either before or after the show. Lowell told me that Miles shared some brandy with the cast members and was very subdued and friendly.

The second story was told to me by Jerome Cooper, who said he and a friend knocked on Miles' apartment door one night and somehow were let in by Miles' son. Miles came to see what was up, and after introductions he asked the two of them what they did. Jerome's friend, who as I recall was a psychiatrist, said he played the saxophone. Miles said 'Let me see your teeth'. The man opened his mouth, Miles took a quick look, said 'Bullshit'.

He turned to Jerome Cooper. Jerome told him he was a drummer. There was a set handy, and Miles said 'Play'. Jerome was at a bit of a loss, I guess, and he played something as he described it, 'In the style of Art Blakey'. Miles cut him off and told him to play his own music. Jerome played for a while, and Miles dug it. He told Jerome he could come back some time, but as I recall the story pretty much ends there.

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yes indeed! now we're all waiting for Chuck to come through with his stories :)

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I don’t know if I met Miles or not...twice.

One time it was at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto when, between sets, I introduced myself as a local jazz radio host. Miles said “Yeah” and turned around and walked away.

Then backstage at the 1986 Playboy Jazz Festival while he was waiting to go onstage, I started towards him, and he turned around and walked away. I figure he remembered me from Toronto, right?

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