Blue in Green
Published by Blank Forms Editions.
By Wesley Brown.
A timely meditation on the psychological impact of police brutality, through the lens of a day in the life of Miles Davis
Now in paperback, Blue in Green—the latest work from the veteran novelist called "one hell of a writer" by James Baldwin and "wonderfully wry" by Donald Barthelme—narrates one evening in August 1959, when, mere weeks after the release of his landmark album Kind of Blue, Miles Davis was assaulted by a member of the New York City Police Department outside Birdland. In the aftermath, we enter the strained relationship between Davis and the woman he will soon marry, Frances Taylor, whom he has recently pressured into retiring from modern dance and ballet. Frances, who is increasingly subject to Davis’ temper—fueled by both his professional envy and substance abuse—reckons with her strict upbringing, and, through a fateful meeting with Lena Horne, the conflicting demands of motherhood and artistic vocation. Meanwhile, blowing off steam from his beating, Miles speeds across Manhattan in his sports car. Racing alongside him are recollections of a young John Coltrane, a combative Charlie Parker and the stilted world of the Black middle class he’s left behind.
Wesley Brown (born 1945) is the author of novels including Darktown Strutters, Push Comes to Shove and Tragic Magic, which was reissued in 2021 to critical acclaim. In the early 1970s he spent more than a year in federal prison for refusing induction in the armed services during the Vietnam War. In this time, he drafted his first novel, which was edited by Toni Morrison. He is a professor emeritus of English at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia.