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Miles Ahead session details

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Late 1953 (1 item; TT = 28:30)
Unknown studio, St. Louis MO
KXLW radio broadcast (B-)

Miles Davis (voc); Harry Frost (interviewer)

1 Interview 28:30

Davis talks with Harry Frost about his Juilliard years, his Savoy recordings, the John Cotter Trio at the Juke Club in St. Louis, the Birth of the Cool nonet sessions, and the first two Blue Note sessions


The nightly Fresh Air program was broadcast live on KXLW at 7:30. In the course of the interview, Frost plays several records: "Miles Away" by Rolf Ericsson's Swinging Swedes, "Milestones" with Charlie Parker (recorded August 14, 1947), "Godchild" (January 21, 1949), "Hallucinations" (Royal Roost, September 4, 1948), and "Woody 'n' You" (May 2, 1952). A transcription is available elsewhere on this website.

Fixing the date of this interview is very hard. According to the radio listings in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the first Fresh Air broadcast was on Tuesday, June 23, 1953, and the show aired nightly (except Sunday) until Saturday, August 29, 1953. Frost mentions that John Cotter's group is playing at the Juke Club "tomorrow, Wednesday through Sunday" -- the interview took place on a Tuesday, probably in July or August 1953. Thanks to Chris DeVito for help with this interview.

At this time Davis had fled New York to St. Louis, where he stayed with his father and tried to kick his heroin habit for good. Once he was clean he moved to Detroit, staying there for several months before returning to New York in February 1954. During his time in Detroit Davis probably played in pick-up bands with local musicians: one such occasion was a "Battle Royal" at the Pontiac Armory on January 23, where on one bill it was Wynonie Harris ("sings 'Blood Shot Eyes'") vs. Miles Davis ("Downbeat's Jazz Award Winner") vs. Big Maybelle ("sings 'My Country Man' - 'I've Got a Feeling'"). The other bill featured The Diablos ("sing 'Adios, My Desert Love' - 'The Wind'") vs. The Royal Jokers ("sing 'Won't You Be My Baby'") vs. The 5 Jets ("sing 'I'm Stuck' - 'Crazy Chicken'"). Davis was clearly desperate for work.

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