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Miles Davis Way, Upper East Side Block Renamed In The Great Man's Honor

Unveiling Of Miles Davis Way

Unveiling Of Miles Davis Way

On Memorial Day, the first truly warm day of the year and Miles Davis’s birthday, I went uptown to 77th Street and Riverside Drive for the unveiling of the “Miles Davis Way” sign on the block where he passed the last 25 years of his life. On a glorious afternoon, a packed out closed off block of New York City came to honor the late trumpeter who, after Louis Armstrong, is the greatest of them.

A DJ played bits and pieces of Davis huge catalog, Sketches Of Spain mostly, before the afternoon became something of a memorial but an upbeat memorial. The Miles family was present.  The heirs that run the estate  Cheryl Davis (daughter), Erin Davis (son) and Vince Wilburn, Jr. his nephew, were all present. Various musicians  talked about knowing and loving Miles. Bobbi Humphrey, the first female instrumentalist signed to Blue Note, remembered playing with Miles fondly. John Ames claimed it had always been Miles Davis Way for him.

Best of all TS Monk, Thelonious Monk’s son, discovered opening the door for Davis when Davis came to visit his father and how he would barely tap on the door and then wait patiently by the piano for Monk to join him, sometimes Davis would wait a long time. “Humility” TS said. “Davis showed humility and you must have humility to play jazz”.

This reminds of the story of a student asking a Rabbi why God didn’t speak to us any longer and the Rabbi replying “Because we can’t kneel low enough to hear him”.

And then Charlie Rangel came out and before you could say in a silent way it was politics as usual as he claimed to want to make the area affordable for musicians like Miles. So he has been in politics for fifty odd years, what’s stopping him?

On a personal note, I was hoping to finally meet Karen Sundell of Rogers And Cowan but the place was so packed we couldn’t find each other. She invited me to the reception at the great Harlem restaurant Mintons but I read the invite too late.

Still, a glorious afternoon, a great tribute and I got to see Thelonious Monk’s son.


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