Open Letter To Miles Davis From Charles Mingus

* definitely worth a read

An Open Letter To Miles Davis
By Charles Mingus
November 30, 1955
Down Beat Magazine

Four editions of Down Beat come to my mind’s eye-Bird’s “Blindfold Test,” mine, Miles’ and Miles’ recent “comeback story”-as I sit down and attempt to honestly write my thoughts in an open letter to Miles Davis. (I discarded numerous “mental” letters before this writing, but one final letter formed last night as I looked through some pictures of Bird that Bob Parent had taken at a Village session.) If a picture needs to go with this story, it should be this picture of Bird, standing and looking down at Monk with more love than I think we’ll ever find in this jazz business!….

Bird’s love, so warmly obvious in this picture, was again demonstrated in his “Blindfold Test.” But dig Miles’ “Test”! As a matter of fact, dig my own “Blindfold Test”! See what I mean? And more recently, dig Miles’ comeback story. How is Miles going to act when he gets back and gets going again? Will it be like a gig in Brooklyn not too long ago with Max, Monk, and me when he kept telling Monk to “lay out” because his chords were all wrong? Or even at a more recent record date when he cursed, laid out, argued, and threatened Monk and asked Bob Weinstock why he hired such a nonmusician and would Monk lay out on his trumpet solos? What’s happening to us disciples of Bird? Or would Miles think I’m presuming too much to include myself as one?

Click to finish reading Mingus: Open Letter To Miles Davis.


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