Talk:Miles Davis

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Eric Dolphy quote[edit]

I don't have an authoritative reference, but the context for the "foot" quote is said[1] to have been a blindfold test, with Miles commenting on the song "On Green Dolphin Street" from the Eric Dolpy Quintet album Outward Bound (1960).

Choking a white man quote[edit]

Can anyone find a reference for this other than one from a white supremacy website?

There's a reference from Jet in 1985 that refers to a "recent USA Today article."

http://books.google.com/books?id=FbEDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA1&pg=PA61#v=onepage&q=nice%20and%20slow&f=false

In a recent USA Today article, reporter Miles White quotes Davis as saying: "If somebody told me I only had one hour to live, I'd spend it choking a White man. I'd do it nice and slow." But the veteran musician added, "The only White people I don't like are the prejudiced White people. Those the shoe don't fit, well, they don't wear it."


The article was published in USA Today in the LIFE section under my byline.I only have a photocopy of the article and the date is very blurred, but it appears to say Monday, March 11, 1985. I am sure about everything except the date; it could be March 18. I interviewed Mr. Davis at the Carlyle Hotel and the dateline of the story is New York. I tape recorded the conversation and the comments in the article were transcribed verbatim from the cassette tape recording. - Miles White, May 5, 2018.

Unsourced[edit]

Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to Miles Davis.

  • If somebody told me I only had an hour to live, I'd spend it choking a white man. I'd do it nice and slow.
    • During an interview, after growing aggravated about questions on the subject of race.
      • Jet (25 March 1985)
  • A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I'm still doing it.
    • On being called a legend.
      • Quoted in International Herald Tribune (17 July 1991); also in: Shapiro, Fred R., ed (2006). The Yale Book of Quotations. Yale University Press. p. 189. ISBN 9780300107982. 
  • Jazz is like blues with a shot of heroin
  • Who's that motherfucker? He can't play shit!
  • You a motherfucker.
    • A compliment to Chick Corea, who thought he was about to be fired.
      • In Dawson, Jim (2011). The Compleat Motherfucker: A History of the Mother of All Dirty Words. ReadHowYouWant.com. ISBN 9781459619562. 
  • He plays like somebody is standing on his foot.
    • On Eric Dolphy
      • He plays like somebody was standing on his foot.
        • In Down Beat "Blindfold Test" with Leonard Feather (13 June 1964); also in Chambers, Jack (1983). Milestones: The music and times of Miles Davis since 1960. Beech Tree Books. p. 71. ISBN 9780688046460. 
  • He could very well be the Duke Ellington of Rock 'n' Roll.
    • On Prince
      • In Werner, Craig Hansen (2006). A Change is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America. University of Michigan Press. p. 53. ISBN 9780472031474.  as: he can be the Duke Ellington of our times.
        And in Paul Maher, Michael K. Dorr, ed (2009). Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters with Miles Davis. Musicians in Their Own Words Series. Chicago Review Press. p. 262. ISBN 9781556527067.  as: Do you know who Prince kinda reminds me of, particularly as a piano player? Duke! Yeah, he's the Duke Ellington of the eighties to my way of thinking.
  • Why'd you put that white bitch on there?
    • To George Avakian after seeing the cover chosen by Columbia for Miles Ahead.
      • In Davis, Miles; Troupe, Quincy (1989). Miles: The Autobiography. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-63504-2. , Kirchner, Bill (1997). Kirchner, Bill. ed. A Miles Davis reader. Smithsonian Readers in American Music. Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 255. , and Giddins, Gary (1998). Visions of Jazz: The First Century. Oxford University Press. p. 347. ISBN 9780199715206. 
  • "You can't play anything on a horn that Louis hasn't played." and "I love Pops" (Louis' nickname)
    • on Louis Armstrong in a Playboy magazine interview.
      • Louis has been through all kinds of styles. That's good tuba, by the way. You know you can't play anything on a horn that Louis hasn't played — I mean even modern. I love his approach to the trumpet; he never sounds bad. He plays on the beat — with feeling. That's another phrase for swing. I also love the way he sings.
      • I love Pops, I love the way he sings, the way he plays - everything he does, except when he says something against modern-jazz music.
        • In Playboy to Alex Haley (1962); also in Chambers, Jack (1983). Milestones: The music and times of Miles Davis since 1960. Beech Tree Books. p. 209. ISBN 9780688046460. , Haley, Alex (1993). Fisher, Murray. ed. The Playboy Interviews. Ballantine. p. 15. ISBN 9780345383006. , Carner, Gary (1996). Carner, Gary. ed. The Miles Davis companion: four decades of commentary. Schirmer Books. p. 19. ISBN 9780028646121. , and in Early, Gerald Lyn, ed (2001). Miles Davis and American Culture. Missouri Historical Society Press Series. Missouri History Museum. p. 205. ISBN 9781883982386. 
  • I’ll play it and tell you what it is later.
    • During a recording session for Prestige, on the album "Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet" (1956).
      • In Szwed, John (2012). So What: The Life of Miles Davis. Random House. ISBN 9781448106462. , and in many other books
        Ssometimes rendered as: I'll play it 'first and tell you what it is later.
  • Listen baby, when I say later, I mean it! Later!
    • After being approached by a relentless interviewer.
  • There are no wrong notes.
  • My ego only needs a good rhythm section.
    • On being asked what he looked for in musicians.
      • My ego only needs a good rhythm section.
        • In Chambers, Jack (1983). Milestones: The music and times of Miles Davis since 1960. Beech Tree Books. p. 261. ISBN 9780688046460. 
          "My ego only needs a good rhythm section" is also the title of an interview/article by Stephen Davis for The Real Paper (21 March 1973)
  • When you are creating your own shit, man, even the sky ain't the limit.
  • Try taking the fucking horn out of your mouth.
    • Davis was questioning the increasing length of John Coltrane solos, and Trane answered "I don't know how to stop."
      • When you're creating your own shit, man, even the sky ain't the limit.
        • Davis, Miles; Troupe, Quincy (1990). Miles. Simon and Schuster. p. 206. ISBN 9780671725822. ; also in Carner, Gary (1996). Carner, Gary. ed. The Miles Davis companion: four decades of commentary. Schirmer Books. p. 218. ISBN 9780028646121. 
      • Try taking the fucking horn out of your mouth.
        • In Garment, Leonard (2001). Crazy Rhythm: From Brooklyn and Jazz to Nixon's White House, Watergate, and Beyond. Da Capo Press. p. 406. ISBN 9780786752270. , Szwed, John (2012). So What: The Life of Miles Davis. Random House. ISBN 9781448106462. , , and in many other books
  • Don't play what's there, play what's not there.
    • In SPIN (December 1990). p. 30, and in many other sources, but I can't find the original one.

Except for the last quotation, I've added some sources at level three and/or four of the list. –pjoef (talkcontribs) 11:03, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

You seem to have good sources, so you should add these quotes to the article.--Abramsky (talk) 12:44, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Most quotes, source and comments are moved back to the article, and arranged in a chronological structure. -- Mdd (talk) 13:35, 26 May 2014 (UTC)