I make little discoveries sometimes. In October, I realized I still carried the keys to Miles’s car on my keychain. I went back to work a few weeks ago and I saw that my calendar was still turned to August. We found a note from Miles to his mother in a cookbook, asking her to make poppy seed muffins with him.
I opened the glove box in my car and found some CDs Miles had stashed there. Among them was a Sun Ra CD I had bought many years before. I had forgotten about it, but Miles found it. He made his way through all the CDs we had in the attic and found all my old Sun Ra CDs. He liked jazz, and I know he listened to my Mingus, Miles Davis, and Dave Brubeck. He also attended the jazz concerts in town on Tuesdays, sometimes with a friend and sometimes alone. He played trumpet in the stage band and marching band. He looked into a lot of music on his own, including the weird Sun Ra in the attic boxes.
Sun Ra is another difficult musician, the kind of artist Miles certainly appreciated. Sun Ra was from the planet Saturn (Philadelphia). He conducted a big band orchestra. They resided on the same space ship (a large house in Philly somewhere) and performed some pretty wild improvisational concerts. Sun Ra is more than a band. He is a positive philosophy about music, life, and human potential.
Early in his career, before expanding his music to the far out extremes he is now popularly known for, Sun Ra composed and performed some pretty straightforward pop tunes, including “Bye Bye.” It is a beautiful song. I don’t know if Miles had found the collection of early Sun Ra singles this came from. The CDs were in the pile, but I am not sure if he got to them yet. I am glad he listened to the challenging Sun Ra. It befits Miles’s active, searching artistic mind.