Miles Davis Online Interview w/ Photographer Jamie Parslow

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(Artist Series, Volume 4)

I had an instant reaction to Jamie Parslow’s photography: the work is honest, alluring and immediate.

In my search for Miles Davis art and photography, I found Parslow and with him not only three, marvelous photographs of the jazz legend, but a lovely assortment of photographs taken throughout a long career; presently residing in Norway, Parslow’s work covers many decades, the photographs a reflection of his life from one adventure to another.

In the ‘70s Parslow spent time at Rolling Stone, so no doubt you will find a lot of great concert photos and shots of famous folks. From Hendrix to B.B. King, Jack Nicholson to Janis Joplin it is a collection well worth your time to peruse.

Each of Parslow’s collections, located on his website, are a delight to view, and I recommend highly doing so.

Parslow was kind enough to take a few minutes and chat with me about his work, especially the three, Miles Davis photographs I love so much.

Miles Davis Online: Let’s start with the two, ‘Peepshow’ photos titled ‘Miles Davis, 1969.’ What’s the story?

Jamie Parslow: These two were taken at the Monterey, California Jazz Festival.  I talked my way to a backstage press pass and went from there.

Miles Davis Online: What about the 1970 photo of Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis?

Jamie Parslow: I had moved from San Francisco to New York, and with a nice recommendation from [photographer] Jim Marshall, I had met, and was doing some work for Bob Thiele, the Flying Dutchman.

These photos were taken at a combination 70th birthday celebration for Louis, and recording session for the Louis Armstrong and Friends What A Wonderful World album.  Miles was one of many who came to wish Louis a happy birthday.  Quite en event.  But what did Miles say to Louis…?

Miles Davis Online: What was it like to photograph Miles Davis? Were you able to get a good sense of what kind of person he was?

Jamie Parslow: I can´t say I spent time with Miles, but I found him to be very congenial, cordial and patient with me, especially when I had my camera in his face! He never reprimanded me, never complained, on the contrary was very patient, would pause when he knew I was photographing him.  I was in awe.

Miles Davis Online: How would you describe yourself as an artist? Does your work represent a specific ‘style?’

Jamie Parslow: A subjective documentary photographer. It´s a fine line between the personal and the private, a line I try and walk as often as possible.

Miles Davis Online: What will we be expecting to see in your future work?

Jamie Parslow: More personal work.

Miles Davis Online: Favorite Miles Davis album?

Jamie Parslow: I think I have to go with Bitches Brew. What a crew, what a gathering of some of the finest musicians at that time.  A phenomenal album, innovative, brilliant!

Photographs are © Jamie Parslow

All of Parslow’s photos are for sale; prices available upon request

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Talkin’ Miles: Awards, Images & Clubs

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  • The Moviegoer, switching over to The Musicgoer for a spell, features a profile he wrote for SEE Magazine (Edmonton) on jazz legend Jimmy Cobb.
  • “They would come to love opera, especially “Tosca” and Chet Baker, Mahler and Miles Davis, 25-year-old scotch and good pinot noir, as my daughters do. Perhaps they, too, would become actors or quirky writers like their dad.” — J.P. DEVINE: For all of my life
  • Do you like beautiful jazz photography? Here are some choice shots from Herman Leonard, including ‘Miles Davis at Birdland in New York.’ The photo in the collection was one of 8,000 prints that were destroyed in Leonard’s New Orleans home when a levee just a few blocks from him home burst open in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But 70,000 negatives were saved after being rushed into the vault of a nearby museum.
  • Marking the 50th anniversary of London’s famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho, BFI Southbank  is paying tribute to the venue’s legacy by hosting a celebration called Jazz in June through June 28. Footage of Miles Davis is part of the June in Jazz festival.



Miles Davis / In Pictures

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In Honor of Michael Jackson: Miles Davis Plays ‘Human Nature’

Sketching Miles Davis: Interview with Artist Jeremy Powell

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(Artist Series, Volume 3)

I’m always blown away by pencil sketch art; it’s stripped-down creativity I can really appreicate. And speaking of creativity, I am pleased to feature a phenomenal pencil sketch of Miles Davis by the talented artist Jeremy Powell. The structure and form of this particular sketch above is simply terrific, as is all his pencil sketch work.

Besides Davis, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Smith, Bud Powell and Art Blakely are some of the jazz luminaries Powell has sketched – which you can see here.

When not working on his own art, Powell operates Mayhem Productions, an artistic community to help promote lesser-known musicians and artists throughout the world. The purpose of the website is to get their works seen and heard, generate more exposure for the artists, more work. It’s all part of Powell’s desire and dedication to keep pushing music and art forward – by celebrating and supporting those who create. It’s definitely an operation we can get down with.

I recently caught up with Powell for what turned out to be an very enlightening discussion about sketching, jazz inspiration and Miles Davis. And for the record I did not ask Jeremy if he listened to Sketches of Spain while sketching Miles Davis. Ba-dump-dump!

Miles Davis Online: Let’s talk about that great pencil sketch of Miles Davis.

Jeremy Powell: Miles is the man, if I may be so frank. He was always and still is in a class by himself. He was always moving forward both musically and artistically, always searching and experimenting. He also did some painting which he’s not really known for, so this has always inspired me because I am also a very visual person as well as a musician.

Continue reading “Sketching Miles Davis: Interview with Artist Jeremy Powell”

Miles Davis: Before & After

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*Via the wonderful If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats. Tom Sutpen, Stephen Cooke, Richard Gibson and Kimberly Lindbergs curate one of my favorite clicks on the ‘net.

Miles Davis / From The Archives (The Apple Years)

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We’re going for a bit of a mixed-bag with this episode of From The Archives. Much had been written about the Apple Think Different campaign – and that includes plenty of ink related to Miles Davis. I own the Miles Davis poster from the campaign and have always been a fan of TBWA Chiat/Day’s inventive message:

“Buy a Mac and join a pantheon of creative geniuses–like Albert Einstein, Miles Davis, and John Lennon–who “think different.”

Apple boosted its 1998 ad budget to well over $100 million. (Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998)

» Hard to believe (not really), but way back in 1999 Jesse Jackson accused Apple Computers of racism. Why? Because, as Bryan Chaffin wrote for The Mac Observer, “Apple had the gall to use images of such legendary figures as Jackie Robinson, Ceasar Chavez, and Miles Davis, all of whom are members of ethnic minorities, in advertising campaigns, while not appointing members of the same two races (African-American and Latino) to its own Board of Directors. What does one have to do with the other?”

Check out the full article here.

» We don’t have to go too far back with Farah Jasmine Griffin and Salim Washington’s Clawing at the Limits of Cool, an excellent book about Miles Davis and John Coltrane; the musical interaction and its historical context.

Here’s an excerpt:

Even in our own time, through advertising campaigns for products as various as Gap clothing, Hennessy, and Apple computers, we can see Miles Davis’s image used as a symbol for innovation and the courage to follow one’s conviction. All the ads emphasize Miles’s uniqueness as an artist and persona.

…The figures are not identified by name; the simple, if ungrammatical caption “Think Different” accompanies each image. According to Allen Olivo, senior director for worldwide marketing communications at Apple, “The premise is that people who use Apple computers are different and that we make computers for those creative people who believe that one person can change the world.” By not identifying the figures in the striking black-and-white images, Apple executives also sought to establish their consumers as people in the know, as part of the “cognoscenti.”

» Here is a Think Different TV ad narrated by Richard Dreyfuss. I do not see Miles Davis, which is annoying.

The Miles Davis Movie Blog Celebrates One-Year Anniversary; Actual Miles Davis Movie Nowhere To Be Found

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On June 17th 2008 I wrote a quick post about the official Miles Davis website and how I thought it could be much better. The original idea for this wordpress Blog was to be like what you are seeing now over at Miles Davis Online – basically a hub for All Things Miles Davis.

But then I decided to embark on chronicling every minute detail about the Miles Davis Biopic, a project with a long and frustrating history of trying to get produced for the silver screen.

One year later I could not be happier that I took on the endeavor.

Different from say tracking the news and opinions about a film you know is in production and will eventually go through the usual casting-shooting-marketing-hype gauntlet prior to release, following the Miles Davis Movie has been more difficult because, well, there’s really not been a lot of news.

A few quotes from Cheadle here, a comment from one of the producers there, but essentially the project, as far as I know, is on a slow burn. Yep, Don Cheadle is still on board to star and direct, and a script is out there somewhere, but finding a steady stream of news to post is problematic.

So, like Miles Davis himself, we improvised. And out of that is where I have had the most fun so far.

There have been posts upon posts about what the movie poster should look like; who should be cast to play important roles; when the movie should open; what the social media strategy might be; what songs must be featured; what scenes have to be included in the movie; is it better off as an HBO miniseries; what are the expectations…

You get the picture.

In a sense we’ve explored a movie where this isn’t one – yet.

But that’s been part of the great fun. People are generally interested in this project. It’s a movie most folks believe should be made, a story that has all the makings of a phenomenal cinema experience. Does it have the broad, commercial appeal of “Dark Knight?” No, but if you like music biopics like “Ray,” “Amadeus” and “Walk the Line,” (among many other good ones) then a movie about jazz legend Miles Davis fits the bill.

The comments, opinions and thoughts about everything and anything related to the Miles Davis Biopic have been terrific to read, and I truly appreciate everyone who has chimed in over the past year.

If you follow the Blog you probably started to see more non-movie content about Miles Davis, which is why I finally launched Miles Davis Online. But even though I’m happy about the new website, I remain faithfully committed to tracking the Miles Davis Movie until the day I am seated in a movie theatre watching the damn thing on screen.

Between jumbo, Hollywood blockbusters and a poker addiction hobby taking up all of Don Cheadle’s time, I don’t know how long it’s going to take for the Miles Davis Movie to get revved up in front of cameras, but we’ll get there.

To borrow and badly manipulate one of my favorite lines of dialogue from Apocalypse Now, as delivered by Robert Duvall as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore:

“Someday this Miles Davis movie is gonna get made …”

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by the Miles Davis Movie Blog this past year to say hello, or just share thoughts about the biopic. I am very appreciative of the support and kind words.

We covered a lot of ground in Year 1, and believe me I have plenty more to say about what the movie poster should look like! But here’s hoping in year two we get lots of good news about the Miles Davis Movie.

Thanks!

Sincerely,
Jeffrey D. Hyatt

Painting Miles Davis: Interview with David N. Goldberg

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(Artist Series, Volume 2)

The colors. The colors in David N. Goldberg’s artwork grab my attention immediately; warm, confident and beautiful – like Lauren Bacall wrapped in a harmony of paint.

I instantly sparked to Goldberg’s work. The Miles Davis (oil on canvas) painting, of course, was what brought me to his exquisite collection of portraits and paintings. The Miles Davis, from 1980, is simply terrific. It has a marvelous texture and warmth, like so much of his work, that jumps off the painting.

Goldberg excels in form and color, producing a lovely collection of modern art. The Miles Davis painting was reason enough for me to drop Goldberg a line to chat about the jazz legend and just what went into such a great painting.

Miles Davis Online: Let’s talk about your oil on canvas portrait of Miles Davis. Why Miles Davis as a subject to paint?

David N. Goldberg: I have been an avid jazz listener since I was 15 yrs old. I painted this painting of Miles in 1981 at the age of 31 to honor him and to try to capture his essence. He was one of the great innovators of jazz bringing it from the Bebop era through many compositional innovations. He chose great collaborators to work with at different phases during his career.

Miles Davis Online: How was the painting created?

David N. Goldberg: I started with a charcoal sketch. It took a while to find the right photo I wanted. I went to the library and poured over books.  The photo I decided on had Miles playing with a mute and his hair was straightened, I gave his hair a more circa mid-1960’s look.  I left the mute out because it did not work in the design of the painting.

I listened only to Miles the entire time I did the painting.

Miles Davis Online: You’ve also tackled Charles Mingus, Coltrane and Eric Dolphy in your artwork. Is there something abut jazz musicians (or jazz music) that you’re drawn to? Do they make for good subjects to paint, or be creative with?

David N. Goldberg: Yes, the music of jazz is improvisational and so is my art, as jazz became more abstract, it spoke to me of space, and its multiple poly-rhythms suggest geometry. Sometimes it dissolves into chaos and  dissonance. There is much inspiration for visual expressive equivalence in jazz for me.

Miles Davis Online: What will we be expecting to see in your future work?

David N. Goldberg: My work has been mainly non representational for many years, but recognizable symbols and figures are starting to reemerge. I am envisioning an expression that unites elements in a new and different way.

Miles Davis Online: Would you ever revisit Miles Davis as a subject to paint?

David N. Goldberg: Yes, absolutely as a matter of fact I have a plan for a new piece that is in development.

Miles Davis Online: Favorite Miles Davis album?

David N. Goldberg: That is hard to say any one, so here is the short list; Birth of the Cool, Kind of Blue, Miles Smiles, In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew are up there, not necessarily in that order.

Artwork is © David N. Goldberg

www.davidngoldberg.com

Archival prints available at www.imagekind.com.

Miles Davis Is Under Arrest

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Original Caption:

26 Aug 1959, Manhattan, New York, New York: Musician Arrested. West 54th Street Station House—18th Precinct.

Miles Davis, 32, of 881 10th Avenue, a trumpeter now appearing in Birdland, 52nd Street and Broadway, was arrested after fighting with patrolman Gerald Kilduff, who had ordered him to move from crowded sidewalk. In the scuffle, Davis was hit on the head with a blackjack for which a St. Clare’s ambulance had to be called.

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

(hat tip: the always wonderful If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger…)

Talkin’ Miles: ’59, Trane & Carnegie Hall

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  • “With the reissue of landmark jazz albums Kind of Blue and Time Out from 50 years ago, it’s hard not to feel a little nostalgic.” Has it been all downhill for jazz since 1959? J.D. Considine starts the conversation.
  • Miles of John Coltrane — good spot to read about “original issues on which Coltrane plays as lead or sideman, with a chronological approach, pausing longer in the Miles Davis years.”
  • “Quickly tiring of European composers, Fela, struck by Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra, formed the Koola Lobitos in 1961, and his band became a fixture in London’s club scene.” –FELA! the critically acclaimed musical, will arrive on Broadway this fall where it begins performances at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre October 19.
  • my vinyl review reviews Jimmy Cobb’s So What Band at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California. Great wrap-up and cool photos of Miles Davis.

All-Star Tribute To Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’ Highlights Playboy Jazz Festival This Weekend

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Via The Signal:

Saturday’s “Kind of Blue @50” homage to trumpet legend Miles Davis’ 1959 “Kind of Blue” album by Jimmy Cobb’s So What Band makes a direct connection to that epochal album, the classic era it represents, and to Playboy itself.

“The very first Playboy (magazine) interview was with Miles,” said Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, 83, who staged the first Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago in 1959.

Now considered one of the greatest jazz albums ever recorded, “Kind of Blue” is certified quadruple platinum for sales of more than four million copies.

Drummer Cobb, 80, a longtime Harlem resident, is the sole surviving player from those historic sessions half a decade ago.

“The sound was good and the guys were playing really good, but I never figured it would last 50 years,” Cobb said. “It was probably just our time so I’m glad to have been part of it. And now we’re going to try to reproduce it, so people can feel what we felt. The guys we have right now are kin to what was happening back then.”

At the Bowl, Cobb will sit on a throne behind an all-star group featuring Wallace Roney (trumpet), Javon Jackson (tenor sax), Vincent Herring (alto sax), Larry Willis (piano) and Buster Williams (bass).

“If Miles were alive, he would have picked Wallace to do this,” Cobb said. “In fact, Miles did pick him one time. The last little gig Miles did in France with Quincy Jones, he had Wallace standing right next to him. I guess (Miles) wasn’t feeling well that day, and if anything happened where he couldn’t play, Wallace could do it for him. That’s how much Miles thought of Wallace.”

Painting Miles Davis: Interview with Yuriy Shevchuk

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(Artist Series, Volume 1)

Yuriy Shevchuk’s artwork is wonderful; modern art so full of charm, sophistication and style blended with a delightful harmony of color.

Among his excellent gallery of oil, watercolor and pastel artwork are numerous Miles Davis paintings (two posted above).  There’s actually a large number of lovely,  jazz-inspired paintings to enjoy, but for our All Things Miles Davis purposes we’ll just focus on the Prince of Darkness. I recently caught up with Yuriy, currently living in Prague (how nice!), to chat about his work and painting Miles Davis.

Miles Davis Online: Why Miles Davis? What about the jazz legend makes you want to feature him as a subject for your artwork?

Yuriy Shevchuk: His detailed ways of expressing his music, by making a very strong tension out of every note played, are very similar to the ways I paint. His melodies come into my head as colors and shapes, which I illustrate with my water colors and oil. To me his smooth jazzy sound is an inspiration itself.

Only a few seconds of listening to “Time after Time” gets me to ecstasy, it jumps up my heart, and I just feel I have to express these feelings. So I take my brush and I draw something I feel the song represents. I imagine what the musician is probably thinking while singing something that makes people like me feel so filled up with life.

Miles Davis Online: Do you think jazz artists make great subjects to paint?

Yuriy Shevchuk: Jazz music is very smooth and full of happiness and life. A good painting must be full of life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be optimistic but it definitely has to make me feel as a person so I can paint something that another person would like. The great level of some jazz musicians’ feeling of the music also makes it easier for other artists to work with their piece… and something in a quite different direction as for me is painting.

Miles Davis Online: What are you working on now? Anymore Miles Davis paintings in the future?

Yuriy Shevchuk: Yes, I will continuously be adding more art with jazz & rock stars into my collection, including Miles Davis, but I’ve been busy from drawing jazz with other commissioned artworks.

Miles Davis Online: Favorite Miles Davis album?

Yuriy Shevchuk: “Time after Time” and “Human Nature” from 1989 in Paris, featuring Kenny Garret.

Artwork is © Yuriy Shevchuk 

Artwork available for purchase at www.shevchukart.com, imagekind, fine art america and redbubble.

Miles Davis / From The Archives

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Although Stylus Magazine is no longer operating, much of their music and film content is still available online. Our latest Archives post goes back to a Stylus feature known as Seconds, a column that examined “those magic moments that arose when listening to a piece of music that strikes that special chord inside.”

We jump back a couple years to Nick Southall writing about “Spanish Key,” from Bitches Brew.

3:14 and the electric piano hook rolls in for the first time, summoned by Miles, the heady hustle of rush hour brought to climax before NYC can relax and get into the groove for the morning’s work, no one taking the forefront, all parts equal, all perpetuating, all moving forward together, those three electric pianos and young John McLaughlin’s awesome, spiralling, scratching, wired guitar, always working, busy busy, looking around and creating business.

Click here to read the full Seconds column.

It’s a great write-up about a pretty terrific composition.