A word from Miles Davis, 1962

Miles Davis

A word from Miles Davis, by himself

“I don’t pay attention to what critics say about me, good or bad. The toughest critic I have is myself….and I’m too vain to touch something I think is bad.”

“In high school I was the best in music class with the trumpet, but the awards were for the blue-eyed kids. “I decided to outdo everyone who’s against me.”

“I don’t like people in clubs that don’t respect musicians. Have you ever seen anyone bothering classical musicians when they’re on stage and trying to play?”


“Why do people have so much to say about me? It bothers me because I’m not that important. Some critic who didn’t have anything else to do started that shit about me not presenting the songs, not looking at the audience, not leaning or talking to people, getting off the stage and all that.

“Look, man, all I am is a trumpet player. I can only do one thing, play my trumpet, and that’s what’s at the bottom of the whole mess. I’m not an artist, and I’m not trying to be one. I’m a thing, a musician. Most of what is said about me in the first place is a lie. Everything I do is for a reason.

The reason I don’t present the tracks is because it’s not until the last moment when I decide what’s best to play next. Also, if people don’t recognize a song when we play it, what difference does it make?”

On stage

“The reason I sometimes leave the stage is because when it’s someone’s turn to do a solo, I’m not going to stand there and I’m going to subtract the limelight. Why am I going to stand up there? I’m not a model, I don’t sing or dance, and I’m sure I’m not an Uncle Tom just to be up there smiling. Sometimes I go to the piano or the drums and listen to what they’re doing. But if I don’t want to do that, I go backstage and listen to the whole band until it’s the next turn for my horn.

Then they say I ignore the audience while I play. Man, when I’m working, I know people are out there. But when I play, I worry about making my horn sound good.

And they complain that I don’t talk to people when we go out after a set. That’s a damn lie. I talk a lot if everything goes as it should and I feel good. But if I start thinking about my band or something else, well, hell, no, I don’t want to talk. When I work, I concentrate. I bet if I was a doctor sewing the heart of a son of a bitch. they wouldn’t want me to talk.”

Loves people

“If anyone wants to believe all that m. they hear about me, it’s their problem, not mine. Because, look, man, I like people. I love people! I’m not going around telling everybody that. I try to say it my way… with my horn. Look, when I was a kid, 10 years old, I got a newspaper route and it got bigger than I could handle because my clients loved me so much. I just delivered the newspapers as best I could and took care of my business, just like I play my horn now. “

“But a lot of the people I know now make me sick.”

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