So What: The Life of Miles Davis

In the past few days, I immersed myself into the life of Miles Davis through the pen of John Szwed. I read from 10 pm (when the kids went to bed) until 1:30 in the morning, went to sleep with Miles in my head, and then got up at 5 am to read some more. Even though I have read a numerous books on Miles including his autobiography, I find Szwed’s So What enlightening. Most of Miles stories have been told before, but Szwed made some corrections through his extensive research and interviews of Miles’s family members. Once again, I lost count of how many women Miles had slept and slapped, but the way that he treated Frances Taylor, in particular, as told in this book is quite appalling.

Although Szwed claims in the introduction that this book is not a musical study, he had done anexcellent job of briefly discussing Miles’s albums from Birth of the Cool to Doo-Bop. If you want more in-depth studies of Miles’s music, however, make sure to pick up Richard Cook’s It’s About That Time: Miles Davis On and Off Record after finish reading this book.

Bonjour Vietnam