Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Kathleen Cornell Berman, illus. by Keith Henry Brown. Page Street Kids, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62414-690-9
Cornell Berman’s sensitive story of Miles Davis recounts his formative influences and development as a musician. With prudently placed line breaks, Berman’s writing mimics the cadence of jazz, and the text emphasizes the often frustrating process of mastering an instrument: “Overcome with exhaustion/ yet feeling exhilarated,/ he knows he’s moving ahead,/ away from bebop,/ to create a new way/ to play his trumpet.” Brown’s pen-and-ink and watercolor art conveys both the precision and fluidity of the musician’s style. Quotations from Davis are included throughout (“The way you change and help music is by trying to invent new ways to play”), while author and illustrator notes more clearly place Davis within the context of music history. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/07/2019
Release date: 05/07/2019
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