Remembering Miles

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Author: Anthony Barboza
Date: Spring 2010
From: Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire(Vol. 10, Issue 1)
Publisher: Institute of African-American Affairs (IAAA)
Document Type: Essay
Length: 1,301 words

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"Tony, what are you doing?"


"Photographing women."


"Are they fine?"


"Of course they are. What are you doing?"


"I'm PAINTING women, and they're dancing all around the canvas."

M iles Davis began painting in the early 1980s. I was also a painter and he would occasionally call me and ask me to stretch canvases for him. He liked my canvases because they were sturdier than the flimsy ones they sell in the stores. Some of the paintings he did on my canvases would eventually be used as covers for some of his albums.

In May of 1984, Essence called me to do a shooting of Miles (their second collaboration for the magazine). At this time, he was living in an apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

When I first walked in, I noticed many paintings hanging on the walls, and there were many different-colored horns displayed around the living room. There were gold, silver, red, blue and black ones.

The shoot turned out to be about three hours and was very uneventful. We did most of the shoot in his living room, which was kind of small. We did shots of him both sitting and standing, with a hat and without a hat. He did whatever I asked him to do. As I said, it was uneventful.

Then, in May of 1985, The New York Times (Sunday) Magazine told me they were doing a story on Miles who, at the time, was living in Malibu, California. So I flew out there with my wife, (actress) Laura Carrington, and we drove up the highway to this beautiful home on the beach.

Whoa! What a gorgeous house! We parked our rental car outside, next to Miles's Lamborghini (Miles eventually told me a story about how the Los Angeles police pulled him over one day because they thought that a black man in a sports car must have...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A271411964