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Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019)

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Miles Davis: Horn player, bandleader, innovator. This documentary feature explores archival photos and home movies shot by Miles and his colleagues, his manuscripts and Miles' original paintings, to explore the man behind the music.

Director:

Stanley Nelson
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carl Lumbly ... Miles Davis (voice)
Miles Davis ... Himself (archive footage)
Reginald Petty Reginald Petty ... Himself
Quincy Troupe Quincy Troupe ... Himself
Farah Griffin Farah Griffin ... Herself, co-author of 'Clawing at the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever'
Lee Annie Bonner Lee Annie Bonner ... Herself, Miles Davis' childhood friend
Ashley Kahn Ashley Kahn ... Himself
Benjamin Cawthra Benjamin Cawthra ... Himself
Billy Eckstine Billy Eckstine ... Himself (archive footage)
Walter Cronkite ... Himself (archive footage)
Jimmy Heath Jimmy Heath ... Himself
Jimmy Cobb Jimmy Cobb ... Himself
Dan Morgenstern Dan Morgenstern ... Himself
Charlie Parker ... Himself (archive footage)
Greg Tate Greg Tate ... Himself
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Storyline

Miles Davis: Horn player, bandleader, innovator. Miles was a singular force of nature, the very embodiment of cool. The central theme of Miles Davis' life, and of this film is Davis' restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms. This documentary feature explores archival photos and home movies shot by Miles and his colleagues, his manuscripts and Miles' original paintings, to explore the man behind the music. Featuring interviews with some of the most well-known musicians on the planet, including Jimmy Cobb, Lee Konitz, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Carlos Santana, The Roots, and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers; the film explores why Miles continues to be a relevant voice in today's world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 August 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,258, 25 August 2019

Gross USA:

$614,201

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$898,611
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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User Reviews

 
An inside look at the legendary musician's tortured soul.
22 May 2019 | by eelen-sethSee all my reviews

Miles Davis was a jazz musician with a big impact on the music industry, even up to this day. A cultural phenomenon who didn't play by the rules, but did everything on his own terms and with success. Interestingly enough, there hasn't really been a decent documentary made about his life, until now.

Director Stanley Nelson takes us backstage and on to a journey into the highs and lows of Davis' career and personal life, with the respect this legend deserves. He shows us his road to success, breaks down his relationships and doesn't shy away from the darker side of his breakdown. Every strength and weakness get discussed in detail and analysed by professionals and musicians who had the chance to meet the man himself. From Quincy Jones and Carlos Santana to his children. For the hardcore fans, some of the footage might be familiar, but there is new material being shown that has been archived for years.

Miles Davis comes from a honourable family, but still has to deal with segregation in Illinois, in spite of his talent and success. After becoming a breakout star in the United States of America, he embarks on a European tour where he gets welcomed as a world star. Paris has a huge impact on his future career, but this dream doesn't last long as he needs to return back to New York, where he always felt like living in a confined domain. An addiction to heroin, and depression soon haunt him for the rest of his life. Always being afraid of becoming the mirror image of his abusive father, he becomes just that. His former partners speak out on the violence they had to endure and how they were able to escape that toxic environment.

His music gets analysed and we hear plenty of his early style of jazz - bebop - growing into the more experimental phase of his music into the 70s. His sound was unique, even when he reimagined himself completely when stepping back into the scene the last decade of his life. A king that will always be remembered by his success, style and class.

The film itself wants to connect mostly with a more familiar with jazz-audience than a younger one that grew up with poppy forgettable tunes. But when disregarding that certain audience, you might miss out on the opportunity to pull that group in and take them on that journey that is Miles Davis. You can tell his estate was heavily involved in the making of this film, by the amount of footage and music used - it's impressive and that's certainly understated. But what is noticeable in music docs this decade, is the lack of subjectiveness. This could make the film more visually pleasing and go even deeper into Davis' music and career.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool gives us a look at the legendary musician's tortured soul who was unpredictable in his actions as in his craft. He changed the game for everyone with his creativity and point of view. If only they showcased that bolder side of his personality, this film could've become something more than just solid.


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