Thursday, May 24, 2007

Miles Blended

Delta said use your limited miles or lose them, so now I subscribe to music magazines I’d ordinarily never read. I’ll skim them for jazz references, so you won’t have to. In the case of this month’s Blender, it did not take long. Once you eliminate the video game ads, pictures of pop stars looking like heroin addicts, download lists, visual gags, drug jokes, and letters from prison inmates, you’re left with maybe two or three pages of text.

This month that included two Miles Davis references. One was a Carlos Santana “Who am I” feature that included the factoid: “I also have been in frequent contact with Miles Davis since he died in 1991.” The other came in a review of Light in the Attic’s Betty Davis reissues, described as “A sexed-up early-‘70’s R&B screamer (and ex-wife of jazz giant Miles Davis).”

Without any context, Davis is offered as a credential of cool. There are no jazz reviews or profiles, so do these Miles name-droppings mean anything to Blender’s readers? Do they get how heavy it is that Santana is channeling Miles, beyond the obvious fact that he has been dead sixteen years? The Betty Davis review is the hippest thing in Blender, but does 1970’s-era Miles Davis summon any images for the kids?

It’s interesting that even Blender sees a jazz luminary like Davis as an icon of cool. Jazz may not be commercial, but it has street cred. Still, it does not get any real love in the mag’s pages. Maybe jazz will fare better when Vibe starts showing up.

(Babalu has a better use for moldy old airline miles: Operation Hero Miles.)