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BOOKS

It's About that Time: Miles Davis On and Off Record

Richard Cook

RRP: £14.99

10 November 2005

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781843543329

Here is quite simply one of the most original books about a jazz musician ever published–a biography-cum-discography that focuses in turn on fourteen major albums recorded by Miles Davis, using them as a jumping off point for an illuminating discussion of the turbulent life and work of the “Evil Genius of Jazz.”

Richard Cook, a veteran writer respected throughout the jazz world, looks at such landmark recordings as Birth of the Cool, Miles Ahead, Kind of Blue, The Complete Live at The Plugged Nickel, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and Live at Montreux. Each of these recordings is considered in detail, illuminating their contribution to Davis’s development as instrumentalist, group leader, and composer. But Cook goes well beyond these fourteen albums, evaluating all the trumpeter’s recordings (official and bootleg), and relating them to events in Miles’s life as well as to wider currents in contemporary music. Cook helps us disentangle Miles the legendary figure from the music itself, to re-hear and reconsider this marvelous body of work ranging over four exhilarating decades. The author also highlights the indispensable contributions of sidemen such as John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, John Scofield, and many others, as well as calling for a reassessment of the importance of such “satellite” figures as Gil Evans, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams and Chick Corea in the development of Miles’s music.

A comprehensive and rigorous guide to the music and life of Miles Davis, It’s About That Time is a stunning book that burns away the fog of myth that surrounds its complex and contrary subject.