She was there. With Miles Davis at Columbia 30th Street Studio for the recording sessions of Kind of Blue, April/May 1959.

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She was there. With Miles Davis at Columbia 30th Street Studios for the recording sessions of Kind of Blue. NYC, New York, April/May 1959. Drawing inspired from original photograph by Don Hunstein, 1959. This shot features Bill Evans on piano. Drawing ©2017 Mary Khan

Iconic, larger than life. Kind of Blue considered a masterpiece of modern music. Modal jazz, flowing improvisation, one take recordings. Racism, misogyny, eccentricity. Tenderness, eloquence, elegance. Subtlety. Social biases with regards to male and female artists. All of these manifest in the mythology surrounding Miles Davis.

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Graphite, chalk, and watercolour on paper. 24″ x 36″. Finished work.  ©2017 Mary Khan.

Original photograph of Miles Davis and Bill Evans by Don Hunstein, 1959.

I kept thinking about Cisely Tyson hiding in the basement of her house while the police were upstairs laughing with Miles. I wondered what she was thinking about, crouched down there in the darkness. I wondered if thinking about his genius made her less frightened and humiliated…

I wondered if she tried to remember the last time she had known a brother whose genius was not in the way he played a horn, or made a living or ran a city, but in the way he loved her…

So the question is: How can they hit us and still be our heroes? And the question is: How can they hit us and still be our leaders? Our husbands? Our lovers? Our geniuses? Our friends?

Pearl Cleage, excerpt from Mad at Miles, 1990

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Obviously had to add blue to the piece.
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Pink. This hue is love and Miles is king. Jazz is love. Jazz is king. Jazz is the sound of integrity.

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Miles conceived these settings only hours before the recording dates and arrived with sketches which indicated to the group what was to be played. Therefore, you will hear something close to pure spontaneity in these performances.  — Bill Evans, Liner notes on Kind of Blue, 1959.
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The decision to deliberately make myself small (along with the choice to tilt my head and wear my hair in an updo) was inspired from the painting Frida and Diego by Frida Kahlo, 1931

 

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