Miles to Go by Chris Murphy

How much do you want to know about Miles Davis? Would you want to hear boozy war stories from a member of his road crew? If so, your truck has come in. Much like the books written by Elvis’ bodyguards, this slight tell-all airs laundry both clean and dirty. In case you think I meant that figuratively, please refer to the passages on Miles’ truss.

What seems like a good idea for an article in a music magazine (“On the Road With Miles Davis!”) falls flat in book-length form. That is, unless you really wanted to know about Miles’ dressing, grooming, eating, drinking and other personal habits. Particularly painful reading is a Q&A with another of Miles’ roadies. Then there’s the appendix comparing, without any irony whatsoever, Miles to Hemingway.

Notwithstanding the sexist posturing that’s de rigueur backstage, Murphy seems like a good guy with a sense of humor and his heart in the right place, at least most of the time. But there is clearly a difference between a source and a writer. Therein lies this book.