“Six months later there are still no arrests and no suspects. The US State Department is ‘repeatedly reminding’ the Rwandan government of the US interest in seeing the investigation pursued, a department official told the Phoenix. But so far the case has remained a puzzling murder mystery set in an exotic locale. Agatha Christie might have called it Death in a Highland Rain Forest.”
Rebirth of cool | 25 years ago | July 7, 1981 | Bob Blumenthal heralded the return of Miles Davis.
“When he quit performing in 1976, rumors immediately began flying about his physical health and state of mind. Apparently he did undergo surgery . . . , but the most alarming stories suggested that he had become an embittered recluse who no longer cared about music and rarely left his Manhattan brownstone. Former sidemen and Columbia Records insiders were quick to dispel such gloomy prognoses, and every six months or so one heard tantalizing hints that Davis was indeed headed back. Apparently at one point or another, Davis entered the studio with a band featuring Larry Coryell, commissioned arrangements from Paul Buckmaster, and considered fronting a band led by his nephew Vincent Wilburn. Other tales had him set to reunite with Gil Evans and eager to collaborate with Arthur Blythe. Finally, after the schedule for this year’s Kool (né Newport) Jazz Festival had been announced, the trumpeter agreed to close the concert with two sets at Avery Fisher Hall . . . The Man with the Horn was completed . . . and in the biggest surprise of all, old friend Fred Taylor booked Davis into Boston for four nights, a warm-up for Avery Fisher that marked his official return to action.
“The jumbled reaction — part exhilaration, part annoyance – that I’m left with after several listenings to The Man with the Horn and three sets from Sunday and Monday night at Kix suggests that it is not easy being Miles Davis, yet at the same time that it is far too easy. On the one hand, history teaches us to expect that Davis will be the harbinger of changed directions and the herald of undiscovered genius. When he isn’t, we feel shortchanged. Concurrently, the constants of Davis’s sound and manner ensure that we will respond. Those for whom sound and manner are enough will no doubt gush over his return; those whose demands were too great will dismiss the whole episode as a media event. On such dichotomies are legends sustained.”
Perfectly Franklin | 30 years ago | July 4, 1976 | Dave O’Brian interviewed forefather Benjamin Franklin as he made his way to Bicentennial festivities.
“Q: I’m interested in getting your impressions of some of the issues and personalities of our time. What, for example, do you think about the Nixon pardon?
A: Pardoning the bad is injuring the good.
Q: By that, do you suggest in any way that our system, which you helped create, provides unequal justice?
A: Laws like to cobwebs catch small flies/Rich ones break thro’ before your eyes.
Q: That’s very true. But why then, do you think, Nixon got caught?
A: One man may be more cunning than another, but not more cunning than everybody else. . . .
Q: What were your feelings about Vietnam, Cambodia, and more recently, the Angolan situation?
A: There never was a good war or a bad peace.