Tuesday, May 07, 2019

J. K. had met Miles Davis by chance and had recorded their conversation, and somehow I was able to step into it, to be present in it. Miles was sitting on the floor, leaning back against the railing, of a little elevated place, like a terrace, to the side of a wide hallway of what seemed like a high school or office building. At first I was only witnessing this, like a ghost, but then I became a participant and was able to talk to Miles. There was another young man there asking questions. Miles was unusually chatty—even “affable,” I said to J., a word you don’t associate with him. At one point he stepped away to go to the bathroom and as he moved through the crowd in the hallway I examined the faces of the people coming the other way. I expected them to be amazed at who was in their midst but none were. I made a remark to the others that this goes to show how ignorant people are. When Miles got back he was telling a story about a boy and a girl and something the boy did that impressed the girl and I said, “That kid’s gonna get some tonight.” I was hoping to get a laugh out of Miles, and also afraid he’d just think I was stupid. His reaction was a little cold, suggesting he disapproved of the innuendo or maybe just disapproved of it coming from me. Classic Miles. After a while we all got up and moved on. We came to the apartment door of our friends the B’s. Surely they’d like to have a drink with Miles Davis. I knocked on the door but C. B. answered it bleary-eyed, like they all were sleeping. Then we went to a music studio with instruments lying around. Miles picked up a fretless bass and played it a little, absentmindedly. There were people asleep next door so we had to be kind of quiet. I really wanted to start a jam with Miles so I made a beat by clapping and slapping my leg. It was simple but steady and I hoped it would earn his approval. For a long time he did nothing. There was a little microphone on a stand between us, raised just two or three feet off the ground. Finally he brought something small in his hand close to the mic. It made a percussive sound. It was a pair of tweezers that he was opening and closing to the beat. At some point J. K. admitted to me that this entire scene didn’t really happen like this in real life. It had been a briefer encounter. This was his fictionalization of it.