About a week ago, the Chronicle Review pulled an article from their archives on Miles Davis: K. Gabbard, "Miles Passed, Miles Ahead," Chronicle Review (May 18, 2001). In this short retrospective on Miles Davis's career, my predecessor, Walter Ellis got mentioned. I never met Ellis whose death made my current position available, but he was both an ancient historian and a novelist. A number of his novels drew on jazz and blues music for inspiration. Davis's music formed the backdrop to his 1998 novel Prince of Darkness. Here's the quote from the Chronicle Review article:
"Along with several biographies and reminiscences, there are now two books of critical essays about Davis, two books devoted entirely to the Kind of Blue LP, and two romans à clef, Herbert Simmons's Man Walking on Eggshells (1962) and Walter Ellis's Prince of Darkness: A Jazz Fiction Inspired by the Music of Miles Davis (X Press, 1998). A female character in Prince of Darkness pursues the kinds of questions so eloquently posed by Pearl Cleage:
"It was difficult to reconcile those sweet melodies with this man who seemed so bitter and angry. But then she realized that the beauty and the tenderness were part of him too. Perhaps the best part. What he could not say in words, he blew through his trumpet. And that was his real message to the world."
Have a good weekend!