The Last Miles

The Music of Miles Davis, 1980-1991
George Cole
The story of the final recordings of one of the greatest jazz musicians of the twentieth century


The Last Miles is the first book to center exclusively on the music Miles Davis made in the last decade of his life.

Author George Cole spotlights the final period of Davis's career, when Davis emerged from a five-year hiatus. The focus is on the music Davis recorded and played and how it evolved in the eyes of the musicians with whom he played.

Thousands of new facts are uncovered, including a lost Miles Davis album, how Miles got into hip-hop, and how he worked in the studio and on stage. Cole devotes at least one chapter to each album Davis recorded during this period, and the full track-by-track descriptions contain the stories behind the songs.

Sure to satisfy the most serious Miles Davis fans, The Last Miles offers nearly 100 interviews with some of Davis's closest associates and musical friends, including Paul Buckmaster, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Branford Marsalis, Easy Mo Bee, Steve Porcaro, Wallace Roney, David Sanborn, and many more, as well as interviews with thirty-one of the thirty-six band members Miles had in this period, including Bob Berg, Robben Ford, Darryl Jones, Marcus Miller, John Scofield, and Mike Stern, among others.

In addition, the book includes new photos of Miles, a discography, details of unreleased material, Davis's guest recordings, soundtrack recordings, tribute albums, artists who covered Davis's 1980s music, compilations, and more.

Voted one of the top 10 music books of 2005 by Record Collector magazine

Front cover photograph: Ebert Roberts / Redferns Music Picture Library

George Cole was educated at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. He is a freelance music and technology journalist whose work has appeared in Music Week, Jazzwise, Financial Times, Sunday Times, Newsweek, Guardian, and other publications.

Praise / Awards

  • "An important book. I'm sure it will enjoy great success."
    —Brian Priestly, The Rough Guide to Jazz
  • "Very moving, emotional material."
    —Gordon Meltzer, Miles' last road manager, executive producer Doo-Bop
  • "George Cole's writing, his choice of references, his descriptions of many incidents—it is all so clear and respectful and shows a deep understanding."
    —Palle Mikkelborg, producer of Aura
  • "I am really impressed by your attention to the details of all the experiences that the Chicago Group went through! I felt as though I was living through it all over again. Bravo! Thank you for telling it like it was!"
    —Randy Hall, singer and guitarist
  • "There are large chunks of fresh material here...Fill[s] in quite a few gaps and dismisses blanket condemnations of [Miles's] pop phase."

  • "A singular look into the last stage of Davis's long, somewhat checkered career gained from various sources; which at the same time gives a picture of the modern music business."
    —Henry Berry, Midwest Book Review
  • "A fascinating book."

  • ". . . the first book to center exclusively on the music Davis made in the last decade of his life, and it is sure to satisfy the most serious Davis fans."
  • "In the flurry of books since [Miles Davis's] death, none has dealt in depth with the music of this period. Music writer George Cole fills this gap. . . . a rich and rewarding read."
    The Gazette (Montreal)
  • "As with any good musical biography, Cole had made me think again about those albums such as Siesta, You're Under Arrest, The Man with the Horn, that are now stashed in my attic."
    The London Times

  • "Cole does for Miles' late work what Ian Macdonald's 'Revolution In The Head' does for The Beatles, examining each album in meticulous detail."
    Time Out

  • "This book is a model of how these types of books should be. . . . If late-period Miles is in the readers' interest, the reader should rush out and purchase this volume. It is invaluable."
    ARSC Journal

Look Inside


Acknowledgments     ix
1. Prelude     1
2. Introduction 3
3. Miles---the man     7
4. Miles---his life and music before 1975     13
5. Into the shadows     30
6. The Man With the Horn     43
7. We Want Miles     89
8. Star People     111
9. Decoy     129
10. You're Under Arrest     159
11. Aura     182
12. The road to Tutu: the background     197
13. The road to Tutu: Rubberband---the lost Miles Davis album     205
14. The road to Tutu: Miles and Prince     226
15. Tutu     232
16. Siesta     268
17. Amandla     282
18. Doo-Bop     307
19. Miles alive     341
20. Live Around the World     410
21. Miles's other recordings     422
22. Miles's guest recordings     427
23. The verdict on the music of the 1980s     437
24. Notes     445
25. References     470
26. Compilations     475
27. Tribute albums     483
28. The eighties music---cover versions     485
29. Unreleased Miles---the music in the vaults     486
30. Miles's live repertoire 1981-1991     496
31. Miles's band line-ups 1981-1991     498
32. Miles's album discography 1980-1991     502
33. Books and websites     511
34. Index     515

Product Details

  • 6.375 x 9.375.
  • 568pp.
  • 36 glossy B&W photographs.
See Sales Restrictions

Sales Restrictions

Our edition is available in Canada, Philippines, Puerto Rico, United States, Virgin Islands (U.S.)


  • Paper
  • 2007
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03260-0

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  • $25.95 U.S.



  • Miles Davis, trumpet, African-American studies, jazz, jazz history, music history, interviews, Paul Buckmaster, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Branford Marsalis, Easy Mo Bee, Steve Porcaro, Wallace Roney, David Sanborn, Bob Berg, Robben Ford, Darryl Jones, Marcus Miller, John Scofield, Mike Stern, discography, guest recordings, soundtrack recordings, tribute albums, Bill Evans, Robert Irving III