'Round About Midnight. A Portrait of Miles Davis - Eric Nisenson
From 1975 to 1981 the jazz giant Miles Davis temporarily retired from music. Almost completely reclusive, nobody outside of a very close circle knew what was happening to him. Only one jazz writer was able to get close to him during this time: Eric Nisenson. From 1978 to 1981 Nisenson conducted dozens of interviews with Miles Davis and his associates. The result was 'Round About Midnight, an engaging firsthand account of Miles's fascinating and difficult career. From his recordings with Charlie Parker and the birth of the cool nonet, through the Coltrane quintet, the Gil Evans–arranged masterpieces of the sixties, the landmark Kind of Blue album, the Shorter/Hancock/ Carter/Williams group, and the success of Miles's fusion recordings of the seventies, Miles's personality—contemplative, abruptly defiant, strong, elegant—meshed with his art to form one of the most compelling legends in the history of American music. Whole actively disdaining his audience, he sought to broaden it by incorporating elements of other musics—classical, flamenco, rock, funk—into his uncompromising jazz. This contradictory combination of contempt and a desire for recognition fueled controversy in both his public and private lives, and resulted in Miles’s lengthy self-imposed isolation. Nisenson broke through that isolation, and his biographical portrait is vivid and telling (paperback, used; fade to spine/cover).