I never would have imagined that posting the recent installment of the Miles Davis podcast on JazzOnline.com would set off such a firestorm of debate. But that's what happened last week when famed punk rocker Henry Rollins was added to the mix. Henry's presence was either loved or loathed and my guess is that Miles wouldn't have it any other way.
When we set out to create this series we could have easily limited our focus solely to jazz musicians, but to me it was a no-brainer... that's not what Miles was all about. Miles Davis was far more than the sum of his recordings. He was a creative force... a visionary who thrived on pushing boundaries, continually reinventing himself and his approach to his work. That's what made him an extraordinary artist. His reach transcended jazz. What better way to illustrate that point than to cast a wide net and show how his influence manifested in all genres of music including punk rock.
Both Miles and Henry share a fearless no-holds-barred attitude toward their respective endeavors as well as a refusal to be limited by labels and remain in the same box. I thought if anyone would appreciate the connection, it would be the jazz audience. If we are to learn anything from the legacy of Miles Davis, it would be that jazz knows no limits and is open to all.
It was my first time meeting Henry Rollins and I didn't know what to expect; but of the thirty or more interviews I conducted for the series, he was by far one of the most impassioned, knowledgeable and reverent to not only Miles Davis but to jazz as an art form. Listen to what he has to say. What's not to like?
Henry Rollins photo credit: Maura Lanahan
Miles Davis images courtesy: Icon Collectibles
For everything Miles: MilesDavis.com
The Miles Davis Podcast: JazzOnline.com