The groundbreaking music of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor -- three African-Americans known to a broad-based audience by their first names alone -- have impacted successive waves of musicians, not only in jazz but across the musical spectrum. Born within four years of each other, but with dissimilar family backgrounds and distinctly different personal temperaments, Miles, Ornette, and Cecil are individually and collectively American originals. They've inspired creative talents as disparate as Leonard Bernstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Thomas Pynchon, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Lou Reed; they've become gods or gurus to generations. Each has transcended the musical field to influence African-American and American culture. This book explores their innovative and radical musical lives, based on original interviews with all three musicians, as well as decades of following their careers. It promises to be a milestone in jazz literature.
"...an indespensable resource." --Andy Hamilton, The Wire
"I learned so much from Miles Ornette Cecil: Jazz Beyond Jazz. It's really reporting, as well as listening. This is jazz from the inside - an essential book, not only for new listeners but for historians of jazz now, and in the future. We hear the musicians speak, informing the author - and us - thereby adding to how much more of the music we come to hear." --Nat Hentoff, writer, Jazz Times, Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal
"Howard Mandel assumes many roles here -- elucidating critic and devoted fan, knowledgeable listener and Boswellian acolyte, evangelist and champion of the avant garde -- all taken on with infectious enthusiasm." --George Kanzler, JazzTimes
"The most impressive aspect of the book is [Mandel's] writing: honest and evocative, flavorful and generous, enthusiastic and thought-provoking." --Art Lange, Jazz Notes