Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Poet, activist and journalist Quincy Troupe's candid account of his friendship with Miles Davis is a revealing portrait of a great musician and an engrossing chronicle of the author's own artistic and personal growth. Miles and Me describes in intimate detail the sometimes harrowing processes of Davis's spectacular creativity and the joys and travails Davis's passionate and contradictory temperament posed to the two men's friendship. Miles and Me shows how Miles Davis, both as an artist and as a black man, influenced Troupe and whole generations of Americans while forever changing the face of jazz.

In 1985, Spin magazine hired Troupe to do an exclusive two-part interview with the by-then legendary jazz artist Davis. The hour-and-a-half scheduled interview stretched to ten hours. After it was published, Davis was so enamored of Troupe and the interview that he finally relented to a major publisher's request that he write his autobiography under the condition that they could get Quincy Troupe to write it. Miles: The Autobiography became an instant bestseller and opened up the entire field of popular music autobiography. Years later, Quincy went back to his notes of his time with Miles that had been so important to them both, and produced this more intimate book, Miles and Me, told from his side of their friendship. 

Miles and Me takes us from St. Louis, where both men grew up, to New York, where both men lived, to Malibu where Miles also kept a home. Troupe also takes us through the entire catalogue of Davis's recordings. Troupe calls his friend "irascible, contemptuous, brutally honest, ill-tempered when things didn't go his way, complex, fair-minded, humble, kind, and a son-of-a-bitch." The author's love and appreciation infuses Miles and Me with a rare quality of grace, and at the same time, throughout the book, Troupe's observations of his friend are keen, sometimes hilariously funny, and truthful, as he knows Miles would want him to be.

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Buying options

September22

An intimate story of Miles Davis, the man, the musician, and his friendship with the young...

Asheville, NC
6.00pm
Malaprops Books/cafe
September26
Quincy Troupe at the Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn, NY
7.30pm
Central Library, Dweck Center
September29
QUINCY TROUPE'S PARTICIPATION AT THE FESTIVAL HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

“Brilliant, poetic, provocative, Quincy Troupe's Miles and Me reveals the man behind the dark glasses and legend.”

“Using refreshingly unscholarly language, poet and literature professor Troupe paints an aptly minimalist portrait of the artist as a man-child in both his musical curiosity and his irrational tantrums. Miles and Me is witheringly honest and deeply perceptive. A must-read for Davis devotees.”

“[Troupe] gives the stories behind the collaboration, from his own introduction to Davis's music in the 1950s—and to Davis's stature as 'an unreconstructed black man'—up to Davis's death in 1991. . . .”

“Troupe is a wonderfully astute judge of human behavior and brings a poet's acuteness of vision to depicting Davis's aura of intimidation and kingly power. He is also well aware of Davis's deeply felt loneliness, the terrible solitude of genius.”

“It has been said that Miles Davis was a great poet on his instrument. In a similar vein, it can be said that Quincy Troupe is a great instrument in his poetic delivery. As fate would have it, these two very talented individuals would form a mutual and intriguing bond. Miles and Me, Quincy Troupe's latest book, is a honest, serious and sometimes hilarious memoir of his warm and cherished friendship with Miles Davis.”

Poet, teacher, journalist Quincy Troupe is an alumnus of the Watts Writers Workshop and, along with his friends Ishmael Reed, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni and others, associated with the Black Arts Movement. He was named California's first poet laureate in 2002. Troupe's Miles: The Autobiography is considered a contemporary classic of musical artist biography. Among his many other books are his collaboration on the autobiography of Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness, which became a popular film starring Will Smith. He also wrote James Baldwin: The Legacy and Earl the Pearl: My Story by Earl Monroe and Quincy Troupe. Troupe has published many volumes of his poetry over the years and has also published several children's books.