Miles Davis – Handwritten Letter to ‘Kind of Blue’ Producer Seeking Finder’s Fee For His Future Wife Betty Davis

A rare handwritten letter from Miles Davis to Columbia Records executive Irving Townsend, the co-producer of his breakthrough album Kind of Blue.  Davis is following up on a January 23, 1968 letter he’d sent inquiring as to whether he might receive a “participation arrangement” (i.e., a finder’s fee) for recordings made by his girlfriend Betty Mabry, an artist Davis brought to CBS’s attention.  Later that year, Davis married Mabry, who took his name and later found great fame as funk pioneer Betty Davis.

The handwritten letter, reads, in full: “Dear Irving:—On Jan 23rd I wrote you in regard to Betty Mabry and have heard no word (to date) from you. Although I realize it might take a little time to discuss the ‘participation’ deal with all concerned, I can’t understand why I haven’t received the tapes (I requested). If you feel this request is out of line and you can’t or won’t forward the tape, would appreciate you advising me.— Sincerely.”

The unsigned letter is written in pencil on the  opposite side of a carbon copy of Davis’ original letter  to  Townsend which reads: “Dear Irving:  I understand that Betty Mabry has completed an album for Columbia.  Just for the record, this is the girl I sent to you.  Right?  Now I am wondering if the company has some participation arrangement for “special friends” who find these people and look out for Columbia’s interest.  Appreciate your forwarding me a tape and advising in regard to this above.  Regards.  Sincerely, Miles Davis.”

Mabry met Davis in 1967, and after a short time dating the couple were wed in September 1968. Their marriage dissolved a year later, but Mabry’s introduction to Davis of trendy artists (including Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone) and fashions greatly impacted the direction of Davis’s musical career.  One page, 8.5 x 11.

This letter has been authenticated by music autograph expert Roger Epperson, and comes with his signed letter of authenticity, and Recordmecca’s written lifetime guarantee.  A fascinating look into the personal and professional life of one of jazz’s all-time greats.

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