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A Fine Arts Museum’s Tribute to Nonpareil Miles

Nat Hentoff on We Want Miles Exhibit and Book

Miles Davis, by Christian Rose, from We Want Miles exhibition
We Want Miles book cover

When I lived in Boston eons ago, the Museum of Fine Arts was within walking distance, and I often visited to get high on such paintings as a Renoir of a young couple in what looked like a New Orleans-style slow dance. I’d stand there fantasizing about taking the man’s place in the painting, but I never expected to find anything of jazz in this legendary museum’s exhibitions. Nor have I heard of jazz as a fine art in any of the other museums around the country. I have been at jazz concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but there’s nothing of Louis, Duke, Pres, Bix or Trane in the galleries there.

Suddenly, however, in a very prestigious museum of fine arts-having opened in April and continuing until Aug. 29-there is a stunning media exhibition on someone the museum accurately calls “one of the jazz world’s greatest innovators.”

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