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Running the Voodoo Down by Philip Freeman

“Everyone has their own Miles,” music critic Philip Freeman writes at the beginning of his new book, Running the Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis. Word is bond. My Miles wasn’t the Miles of Sketches of Spain, Kind of Blue or Porgy and Bess: That was the Miles of my parents. My Miles Davis, in the beginning, was that hard-to-figure horn player on one of his so-called “comeback” electric albums, 1981’s The Man With the Horn.

I was a teenager, and the electric sound that Miles had dared to embrace was beautiful and compelling all at once. Relentless, soulful and liberating, The Man With the Horn wasn’t postwar blues orchestration; it was modern.

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