The Miles Davis Movie: Finding the ‘voice’

I stumbled across a somewhat notable interview Miles Davis did with Don DeMichael in 1969 for Rolling Stone (Jazz’s Picasso puts it in black and white); it’s an interesting enough read, but what caught my attention was this particular passage:

There’s the one about how he lost his voice (the Davis voice is a legend unto itself): He had a throat operation in the early Fifties and was not supposed to speak for a period of time, but he became so angry at a record company owner that he began to shout; from that moment, so the story goes, he has not been able to talk above a hoarse, rasping whisper. Another version of the story substitutes a booking agent for the record company man.

That ‘hoarse, rasping whisper’ of a voice is as much a part of the character of Miles Davis as the style, attitude, talent and so on.

I am curious as to how close Don Cheadle will mimic Davis’ raspy tone of voice in the film. With all the other components of making the character of Miles Davis come to life, capturing the ‘voice’ is vital to completing the puzzle.


1 thought on “The Miles Davis Movie: Finding the ‘voice’”

  1. I have no worries that Cheadle will nail The Voice. This is the guy who took on a British accent in the “Ocean’s” films.

    That voice is distinct, much like everything else Miles. Saxophonist Gary Bartz tells a really funny story in the 2004 doc “A Different Kind of Blue” about how Miles called him once and he thought it was one of his buddies trying to put one over on him because, as he pointed out, “everybody had a Miles impersonation.”

    I can just imagine: Miles calling up and the other person saying, “No really, who is this???” And Miles just cussing the guy out like nobody’s business because he’s so irritated.

    Of all the good biopics, I can’t remember one where the voice was a major issue. So this shouldn’t be any different.

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