Thursday, February 19, 2009

Miles In St. Louis - 1953 Interview Part One

by Joe Schwab

It's been well documented that Miles Davis came home to East St. Louis in 1953 while in the throes of a bad heroin addiction to spend time on his father's farm in order to kick. Before departing for the farm, Miles made a stop at radio station KXLW to visit with Modern Jazz DJ and hipster Harry Frost and his Fresh Air program. This is a fascinating look into Miles' persona and the most extensive recorded interview with him from this era. Miles discusses his career and recordings up until that time. Most people have never heard Miles' voice before it was entrenched with the raspy croak that we're used to and it's rather hard to fathom that this is the man who would later become known as "The Prince of Darkness". The Miles we hear is amiable and friendly, but obviously hurting from the drugs he was determined to defeat.

This is a very very rare and historic recording, enjoy and look for the second part of the program next week.


Confluence City said...

Thanks for this. I met Miles at his book party and he was just as standoffishness in his "Prince of Darkness" phase. The autobiography actually tells the stories that the DJ tries and fails to evoke from his difficut subject. I'll always wonder how Troupe finally got this frustrating man to open up. His brother Vernon Davis (a singer) was just as cagey when I met him at the old family home in ESL. Tough birds.

Anonymous said...

dear sir,

where is the 1953 Miles Davis interview?

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Chris said...

Much of Quincy Troupe's books was something he made up. He interviewed Miles, but—to make it fit into his own notion—even altered what Miles said.

Thanks for posting this interview. I interviewed Miles in 1971, when his voice was low and raspy, but had no problem with him "opening up." On the contrary.

Lazaro said...

Is the second part of the interview ready now?

Anonymous said...

has this been pulled off? i'd really like to hear it but can't figure out how.

also has part 2 been posted yet?


somnolence said...

Miles must have been cringing throughout the interview. The interviewer used the derogatory term "boy" at least three times. No man of any race wants to be called "boy." I have to believe it was deliberate.

somnolence said...

Miles must have cringed throughout this interview. The interviewer used the derogatory term "boy" at least three times. No man of any race could surely like that term. I think it had to have been deliberate, and a couple of years later Steve Allen made an ass out of himself, by introducing Miles as "Miles McDavis" (and Miles,"do you have a cold," not realizing Miles' operation on the vocal cords.) Earl Wilson and Arthur Godfrey were particularly keen on using the word "boy" all too often also.