If you ever stumble across a January 1961 copy of Ebony magazine please secure it immediately because it features not only those old-school print ads that are fun to look at but also a fantastic article about Miles Davis.
It’s probably a long-shot to get a copy of the original print magazine, but lucky for us there is a digital version online via Google. Checkout the entire issue HERE!
Written by Marc Crawford, the article, titled ‘Miles Davis: Evil Genius of Jazz’, features some excellent photos and terrific quotes from the jazz legend. Miles’ father, Dr. Miles Davis II, is also featured with some insightful commentary about his son.
The section about Miles not interacting with the audience and what his mother thinks about it is great. Then there’s the conversation about his drug addiction, kicking the habit and how his life changed as a result of getting clean.
That’s just a few of the topics covered – There’s much more.
Miles may be shy. At least by his own admission, he objects to being an object of curiosity. He charges: “Sometimes a broad will walk up and ask for an autograph and get mad because I don’t carry a pen around with me to sign one. I sign an autograph every time I make a record, that’s my signature. And most of the times those broads really don’t want an autograph, they just want to be noticed.”
“I sign an autograph every time I make a record, that’s my signature.” How good is that quote?!
Crawford’s article is a wealth of compelling opinions and intriguing quotes from Miles, family members, friends and fellow musicians.
Would Miles Davis, most controversial musician in his idiom since they sent jazz up the Mississippi, have been one of its trumpeters if he had to do it all over again? Answers Miles: “I didn’t have a damn thing to do with this. I was minding my own business when something says to me ‘you ought to blow trumpet.’ I have just been trying ever since.”
All these years later, the article provides an opportunity to catch up with Miles on his personal and professional life in 1961, yet another important piece of the Miles Davis timeline. For those of us always looking for more insight into the jazz legend, the January 1961 Ebony magazine article about Miles Davis must be considered essential reading.
Update: Every Page of Every Ebony Issue From ’59 to 2008 Now Online — Ebony just partnered with Google to offer their entire 65-year archive for free browsing. Each issue appears just as it did at its original time of publication, complete with period advertisements.
Click here to find the January 1961 issue.