My Journey to Jazz | Stereophile.com

Like most older teens growing up in the South in the late 1970s, I had two poles of rock and roll heroes: The Allman Brothers Band and ZZ Top on one side, Yes and King Crimson on the other.

But big sister Diane lived on 78th Street at Columbus Avenue in New York City—and when I moved north, her apartment floor became my bed. One day, as we walked down Amsterdam Avenue, Diane said, “Miles Davis lives down that block.” “That block” was 77th Street. I’d read that Miles was the founding father of the jazz-rock music I was devouring, but I didn’t yet know him as Miles, Prince of Darkness, Charlie Parker’s bebop apprentice, muted-trumpet master, one of the most significant musicians of the 20th century.

Walking down the block, I spied Davis standing in front of the Spanish-style entrance to his otherwise nondescript apartment building,…

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