In 1975, Miles Davis put down his trumpet and retired. Davis was famous for his dramatic silences in performance: the notes he chose not to play were almost as meaningful as those he did. But this silence would last for nearly five years, during which he all but disappeared into his Upper West Side brownstone.
by Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli, translated from the French by Grégory Pierrot
Jazz is an art that inspires possessive devotion, and nowhere more so than in France. That proud sense of ownership is understandable: Paris opened its arms to jazz when it was a motherless child back home, a music associated with brothels, race mixing, and other vices. The American clarinetist Sidney …
Shortly before his death at age twenty-seven on September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix told his friend Colette Mimram that he didn’t have much time left. He’d heard it from a fortune-teller in Morocco, and he believed her. Hendrix, who’d grown up penniless, could earn $14,000 a minute playing his white …
Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker
by Stanley Crouch
“Bird was kind of like the sun, giving off the energy we drew from him,” Max Roach said of the alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. The sun set early for Parker, who died at thirty-four of pneumonia on March 12, 1955. He was a world-class musician, but he was also a world-class addict. His body was so haggard that the doctor who examined him estimated his age at fifty-three.
The Jewish Prison: A Rebellious Meditation on the State of Judaism
by Jean Daniel, translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell
Jean Daniel, who turned eighty-five in early July, has a strong claim to being France’s most eminent journalist. The editorial director of Le Nouvel Observateur, the center-left weekly he founded in 1964, Daniel has played a role in French political society that has no equivalent in American letters, with the …
In 1931, a twenty-one-year-old American composer in Paris named Paul Bowles visited Morocco at the suggestion of Gertrude Stein. Bowles later travelled throughout Morocco, recording traditional music of a startling variety—Berber, Arabic, Andalusian and Jewish—now re-edited and re-released in a meticulously prepared box set called Music of Morocco.