VINCE WILBURN, Jr. is a drummer originally from Chicago, now based in California. The son of Dorothy Mae Davis (1925-1996), he is Miles Davis’ nephew. He worked as both producer and sideman with Miles in the 1980’s. More recently he has been running the Miles Electric Band, and was also Executive Producer of the Don Cheadle film Miles Ahead. Ahead of exclusive screenings of the film in France at the Nîmes Métropole Jazz Festival on October 22 & 23rd, Sandie Safont interviewed him about the film, and started by asking him about his memories of his uncle:

LJN: You played the Nîmes Jazz Festival with Miles quite a few times back in the 80s. What was special about these gigs?

Vince Wilburn Jr.: I think it was in 85 & 86. I remember the huge Roman amphitheatre and the impression it had on the whole band. Uncle Miles always looked forward to playing in France. He was knighted in France and had a great admiration for the cuisine, the arts, the people and the audiences.

LJN: What was touring with him like?

VW: We called it ‘Miles Davis University.’ He wanted perfection but he wanted your voice. He had an uncanny way of hearing things in anybody. He used to say to us ‘I pay you to practice on the stage’, so we’d have a theme and we would play around it. You can prepare yourself but the beauty of improvisation is to create on the stage and follow the audience because you get that ‘back and forth.’

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