by Kirby Congdon…….
This writer believes in keeping up with his own times. When the poet, Quincy Troupe was showing his remembrance of the trumpeter, Miles Davis (1926 – 1991), in a publication tour in Key West back in 2000, this correspondent hastened to buy a copy and read it right away, like this summer. Well, it’s only 16 years later.
The milieu of Miles Davis was not one this listener had ever sought out, but after reading Quincy Troupe’s book I felt close to both artists. The recordings are now hard to find and I’ve not gone there yet. What interests me right now is that Miles Davis was personally impossible, his language was incorrigible and his manners were rude and thoughtless, not those one would seek out for an afternoon chat. I think not only of Miles Davis but of others like Robert Burns and his almost unprintable scatological works, of Gregory Corso’s disregard of decent English, or Quincy Troupe’s creative use of untutored patois. However, Quincy Troupe emphasizes a point: to have a drive, a calling, and to be born with talent does not forgive vulgar behavior. But it can help make a socially difficult person understandable. Dedication to one’ art supersedes one’s need to be a socially pleasant person We prefer that distinguished people be accessible as well as considerate, but not at the expense of their creative work. When that person has only political ambition then we think difficult behavior is protecting, not creative work but merely the man’s ego, which is something else. It is the difference between traipsing through a wooded area with great trees overhead and crashing through an abandoned field of overgrown brush that needs a decent rainfall.
As a concession, we may say that the landscapes in Miles Davis’ music were established in his sound and, for him and maybe for us too, that is what’s pertinent