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.
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