A bit of a reach on the day before Christmas you say? Possibly. But Alex Haley’s ‘candid conversation with the jazz world’s premier iconoclast‘ in 1962 was the first Playboy Interview (Volume 9, Number 9) and the conversation is both candid and enlightening – which you’d expect from Miles Davis anyway.
There are also some great quotes:
“I don’t pay no attention to what critics say about me, the good or the bad. The toughest critic I got is myself…and I’m too vain to play anything I think is bad.”
“I don’t dig people in clubs who don’t pay the musicians respect. You ever see anybody bugging the classical musicians when they are on the job and trying to work?”
And just to prove how ‘cool’ Playboy was back in the day, some of the folks interviewed in the months after the Miles conversation included Peter Sellers, Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra and Malcolm X.
Could the ‘interview’ be a throwaway moment in the film, maybe a scene with him and Alex Haley talking? Did the interview cause any controversy in the media, with fans, etc? Haley did go to the gym with Miles, so there’s a great opportunity to show Miles’ passion for boxing.
If anything the Playboy article might be used as jumping off point to reflect Miles’ feelings on race and other important, social issues. Miles didn’t need a magazine as a conduit to express his feelings, but in the context of a film, maybe it’s a good device to connect different personal issues and opinions circulating at that point in his life.
Here’s an excerpt from Miles, the Autobiography:
It’s 1962-63, we’re in that musical chapter of Miles’ life that makes up Steamin’, Quiet Nights and Seven Steps to Heaven, so clearly transition was stirring, which could be a good source of drama… and what’s a great biopic without drama.
Okay, maybe now I’m reaching… Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everybody.