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To understate the obvious, Miles Davis was a complex individual. A relentless innovator, he changed the course of jazz several times over the decades of his career, fearlessly following his muse where it led him. And while he attained glory and riches that few jazz artists could dream of, he also suffered physical and psychological pain that affected his personal relationships and drove him to abusive extremes.
All this complexity is presented in Dave Chisholm’s Miles Davis and the Search for the Sound (Z2), a graphic novel that is no less forthcoming than Davis’ own 1989 autobiography, from which much of the text is derived. Chisholm celebrates each of Davis’ musical revolutions, from Birth of the Cool and Kind of Blue to Bitches Brew, On the Corner and beyond, with different illustrative approaches and color palettes reflective of the music, the era and Davis’ mindset at the time.
The narrative begins in 1982, with Davis struggling to regain manual dexterity following a stroke by drawing on a sketch pad. As he scribbles away, his mind flashes back to the key incidents and individuals that played a role in his life and art, which are virtually inseparable.
In the following excerpt, Davis, deeply affected by the death of John Coltrane, puts together his famed fusion group and takes the opportunity to jam with a rock titan.
Click on the slideshow below to enlarge.
Featured images and graphic novel excerpt by Dave Chisholm, courtesy of Z2 Comics.