"The morning light was beginning to slice into the night. He should've headed home. But not yet..."
One evening in August 1959. Eight days after the release of Kind of Blue. Miles Davis is assaulted outside Birdland by a member of the NYPD. BLUE IN GREEN tells the story of the next few hours - his strained relation with Frances Taylor, the woman he will soon marry and who he pressured into retiring from her career as a dancer. He speeds across Manhattan in his Ferrari, attends the grindhouses of 42nd Street, remembers Coltrane, Charlie Parker, the stilted world of the black middle class he's left behind.
"Blue In Green is a gorgeous jazz composition in love and in torment, Miles Davis and Frances Taylor are co-creators and lead soloists. When I closed the book, I wanted to begin it all over again, see, hear, and re-experience every note of Wesley Brown's wonderful prose music." (Margo Jefferson)
WESLEY BROWN (b.1945) is an Atlanta-based novelist hailed by James Baldwin as "one hell of a writer" and by Ishmael Reed as a "writer's writer". An active member of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s, he returned to his native New York City to join writing workshops led by Sonia Sanchez and John Oliver Killens. In 1972, he was arrested as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War; in a statement to the draft board he quoted the Panthers' Ten Point Program: "If you can't relate to that," he told the draft board, "You can walk chicken with your ass picked clean." His work, spanning many forms and genres, includes Tragic Magic (1978 - edited by Toni Morrison), Life During Wartime (1992, a play about the death in police custody of street artist Michael Stewart), and Darktown Strutters (1994).
BEN RATLIFF, as of January, will be a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU Gallatin. He worked as a music critic at the New York Times from 1996 to 2016, and has written for Granta, Artforum, The Wire and many other publications. His books include The Jazz Ear: Conversations over Music (2009) and Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (2007) which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award in Criticism.
BLUE IN GREEN is published by Blank Forms. Copies will be available for purchase and signing.