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So What: The Life of Miles Davis
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So What: The Life of Miles Davis

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  248 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Musical genius, visionary artist, enigma -- more than ten years after his death, Miles Davis still looms large as a cultural icon. In this, the first new biography since Davis' death, John Szwed draws on various archives and never-before-published interviews with those who knew him to produce the richest and most revealing portrait of Miles Davis to date.
The shy son of a
...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 9th 2004 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2002)
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Peter Pinkney
Jan 15, 2017 Peter Pinkney rated it really liked it
A well written book that devotes equal space to Miles as a person, and Miles as a musician.
The person is troubled, but the musician is a genius.
I love the music, but not sure I can forgive him for punching John Coltrane....
Donny Truong
Mar 18, 2014 Donny Truong rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jazz
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 Mil
...more
Eric
Jul 16, 2015 Eric rated it liked it
My quest to learn a little about jazz continued with this biography of Miles Davis. And yes, I learned a ton about the music. I also learned that Davis was a monumental asshole. The strength of the biography is in these two areas--the musical history and clear explication of the different styles of jazz, and the honest portrayal of the artist as monster.

I would have been happy with a little more critical take on Miles's last fifteen years when he pretty much phoned it in and also won a handful o
...more
Cocaine
Jan 27, 2016 Cocaine rated it liked it
Miles Davis, like many a creative soul, in fact like the majority of human beings, was a multi-facted personna. On one hand he was a near genius musician; an exemplary example of those rare talents who always continue to 'push the envelope' throughout their careers. He produced some of the greatest albums of the 20th century and managed to fuse two musical genres forming what we now refer to as 'fusion jazz. He was both god and demon. A man with drive and vision. All the individual bits that cam ...more
David Rullo
Jul 20, 2013 David Rullo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I've read this book. The first was in college. Of all the Davis bios I've read this is my favorite, especially now that I'm much more familiar with his entire body of work. Szwed presents a complete picture of the man, warts and all. You read about the drugs, his mistreatment of women, his ignoring of his family and so much more. You also gain insight into his works, his musical explorations, his painting. If you have any interest in Miles Davis at all skip the autobiogra ...more
Hoagie
Jan 27, 2013 Hoagie rated it really liked it
Szwed has provided a good overview of Davis, his personal relationships and how they influenced his creative process, from formative years through his final days. As a musician, I was pleased with the attention to detail regarding the music itself.
Dan
Jun 27, 2007 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose my opinions of this would be different if I had read other miles bios before reading this. it was thorough, but full more of impressions than facts, and I liked it for that.
Aj
May 08, 2013 Aj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I need to fins another bio, because this one left me wanting more. I don't feel like I read anything personal about the man.
Djordje
Sep 23, 2011 Djordje rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, the finest, most elegant biography of The Man yet.
Rich on historico-cultural aspect as well, the writer never underestimates his reader.
Highly recommended.
Jack
Mar 28, 2013 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Very good --- Account of Davis' life and contributions to music. He was a bastard as is told in this well written account.
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