Friends, bandmates and fans gathered in droves at the corner of West End and W. 77th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side this Memorial Day; but it wasn’t to pay tribute to American soldiers — it was to honor an icon of American music. Jazz legend Miles Davis called this block home for decades, and on May 26, 2014, New York City officially declared the stretch of 77th Street between West End and Riverside “Miles Davis Way” in honor of the icon’s musical contributions to the city and the world.
Congressman Charles Rangel, actor John Amos and numerous instrumentalists who played with Davis at various stages of his career were on hand for the dedication. On a gorgeous Memorial Day, everyone shared stories about the legendary figure and how he touched their lives.
“I used to come by and pick up Miles here and hang out with him — when he felt like it,” said drummer Jimmy Cobb, who played on Davis’ landmark album Kind of Blue. “We were good friends, I think. I got into his band and was able to stay, so we must’ve been all right.”
Actress Cecily Tyson made a surprise appearance. She and Davis were married for most of the 1980s, and she said that the dedication proved that Miles Davis is still one of the most beloved figures in music.
“When Miles Davis passed away, I received a number of telephone calls — one of which was from my teacher,” shared Tyson. “She asked ‘Do you think he realized how much he was loved?’ I said ‘I don’t think so.’ But today is evidence of how much he was and is still loved.”