When I was a young boy my father (or step-father? whatever I’m just going to call him my father since he was my father figure for most of my childhood) took me along with him to an audition. He took his sax to Miles Davis‘ Hell’s Kitchen loft. I was too young to appreciate the brush with greatness that this was at the time but I still remember so much about the day.
I thought my dad was playing his heart out at the time but as I think back maybe his heart wasn’t into it at all.
I remember Miles was more interested in me and I thought he was being disrespectful to my pop but thinking back he was probably enjoying the audition or at least paying attention while also enjoying the small child as people do as they get older.
But what I remember most is how scared of Mr Davis I was. His focus on me was so intense it made me uncomfortable. And by this point in his life his skin was quite leathery and he was black as midnight. I remember thinking that Miles Davis was going to eat me… whole… like a lizard.
I also remember thinking that my father didn’t get the gig because I wasn’t being nice to him and was obviously shaken and scared by his appearance. Of course I frequently think things are my fault, it’s what gives me my perpetual shame spiral. I’m so bad that after 9/11 I actually thought that had I not left New York in ’99… but back to Miles.
When I grew up and developed an appreciation for his music and subsequently his partner John Coltrane, it occurred to me why my father did not get the gig. Dad’s been having Coltrane for years (meaning that Coltrane is his main influence). Miles already did that.
Still I think I could have been nicer to him. Maybe let him chew on my arm a bit, you know just for the love of the music.