Miles Davis’s Fashion Statement
As Told by Bill Crow, with Eric Nisenson
Miles Davis always dressed with flair. He selected his own clothes carefully, but he didn’t interfere with the way his musicians chose to dress. He didn’t permit others to interfere, either. Eric Nisenson describes his reaction when a club owner tried:
Miles refused to be told by anybody what he should wear. Once when he was appearing at Birdland with his sextet, Oscar Goodstein requested that Miles have his band dressed in uniforms, as many groups were doing at the time. According to Nat Adderley, Cannonball’s brother, the next night Miles kept the group in the dressing room until it was time to go on. When the group went on stage, they were wearing the same disparate clothes they had worn the night before. Miles pulled a rack of uniforms that he had obtained from a nearby clothing store on stage and told the audience:
“Oscar Goodstein wanted to see uniforms on stage so here they are. If that’s what you came for, to look at uniforms instead of music, that’s what you got. Now we’re going to leave so you can enjoy these uniforms.”
Needless to say, Goodstein quickly backed down on his demand, and the group played in their usual clothes.
The above was excerpted from Bill Crow’s book Jazz Anecdotes, with the author’s permission.