Miles Davis: 1961 Print Ad

1961-print-ad-for-columbia-records-with-photos-of-miles-davis-aretha-franklin-the-dave-brubeck-quartet-duke-ellington-oscar-brown-jr-the-hilos-and-lamnert-hendricks

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The Miles Davis Movie: Filming the First Great Quintet

I’m re-posting this entry from July of last year for the Biopic Blog. We now know, via Don Cheadle, that the Miles Davis Movie is not going to follow the standard, Hollywood biopic blueprint. Fine. But regardless of how he develops the narrative and central focus, there’s a long list of people, places and events that must be included — unless the whole thing is just going to be off the charts, no-rules cinema.

They might be in the film for 3 minutes or 20, but there is no doubt the First Great Quintet must be represented.

The Miles Davis Movie: Filming the First Great Quintet

The year is 1955 and Miles Davis puts together the first version of the Miles Davis Quintet. The First Great Quintet as they are celebrated in the annals of jazz history.

It doesn’t get much better than John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (double bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums).

The first recordings of this group were made for Columbia Records in 1955, released on ‘Round About Midnight. Davis was still under contract to Prestige, but had an agreement that he could make recordings for subsequent releases using his new label. (Wikipedia)

To wrap things up for Prestige Davis and Co. hit the studio for two days in 1956 with producer Rudy Van Gelder.

The result?

Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet
Steamin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet
Workin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet
Cookin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet

All are fantastic. All are a must-have.

They weren’t together long. Wonderful alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley joined in ’58, making it a sextet, as the group set out to record Milestones. But the collaboration produced some thrilling music. This was Miles Davis moving beyond bebop, progressing towards modal jazz.

I love the First Great Quintet because my first experience with Miles Davis was a copy of Steamin’ – the rest is history.

So… where the Miles Davis film is concerned one could imagine that the filmmakers would find a way to intertwine this legendary quintet into the story.

It’s a must.

These four recordings are classics in every sense. Recreating the action that took place on May 11, 1956 and October 26, 1956 would not only make for exciting ‘performance’ scenes in the film, but I feel are essential in telling the musical side of the Miles Davis story.

Continue reading “The Miles Davis Movie: Filming the First Great Quintet”

Miles Davis… Online

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Remembering the Birdland attack

The Miles Davis – trumpet relationship

In praise of… Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue

Miles in the midst

Miles Davis / In Pictures

miles-davis-rolling-stone Miles Davis: The Rolling Stone Interview

Miles Davis stands in relation to jazz music as Hemingway stood to the American novel, as Picasso stands to art.

What he does can change — and has changed — jazz history. His is the kind of creativity that is not limited to personal virtuosity but is based upon a conceptual capability that opens the doors to perceptions of new ways to view music….

Miles Davis, NY 1986

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© Roxanne Lowit

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London have all exhibited the work of Roxanne Lowit. She has had one-woman shows in New York, Paris, Monte Carlo, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, and Berlin. Her books, Moments (1990) and People (2001) provide a striking visual chronicle of the creative energy of the international nightlife from the past thirty years. Her advertising work has been highlighted by her ad campaigns for Moët & Chandon, Dior, Emporio Armani, Barney’s New York, Vivianne Westwood, and Cosmo. She has photographed thousands of personalities from the worlds of fashion, art, theater, film, and society at work and play.

Dolce & Gabbana & Miles Davis


Miles Davis Is Hell-Bent For Leather (The Hernando Reinoso Connection)

rt6davis_1

I’m Learning To Share! put together a terrific post about an article from the March 1970 issue of Show magazine. It focuses on a few L.A. and NYC fashion designers known for outfitting some of the more flamboyant pop stars of the day. There are a lot of great photos to check out – especially Miles Davis, of course.

Rock Threads: 1970 magazine photo-spread

“Miles Davis and others knew where to find clothier Hernando Reinoso, but looking online these days there seems to be only a very few memories of his leather shop located on Christopher Street in New York City’s West Village.”

Blurb on the photograph:

“I really dig Hernando’s clothes ’cause you don’t feel like you have anything on… I mean everything he makes me immediately becomes a part of me as soon as I put it on… now that’s what clothes are meant to be.” – Miles Davis

© Raeanne Rubenstein

Miles Davis Biopic Will Not Be ‘A History Lesson’ Says Don Cheadle

cheadle_miles_getty_260 In an interview with Ed Potton in the Times of London, Don Cheadle not only mentions his plans to direct and star in the Miles Davis Biopic, but he also reinforces his decision to produce a film that does not follow the ‘Hollywood’ blueprint for biopics.

His pet project is a biopic of his childhood hero Miles Davis (see lists), which he plans to both direct and star in.“I didn’t want to do anything that resembled the biopics I’d seen. I want it to be relevant today, not a history lesson.”

I was unaware that Miles Davis was a childhood hero of Cheadle’s, or really just how much he cared about the jazz legend.

Asked about some of his favorite musicians, Cheadle had this to say about Davis:

I’ve loved him since fifth grade, when I started playing saxophone and my parents had his Porgy & Bess album. Very young I was just taken with the music. I was a student of it very early, and that’s just sort of never waned. A lot of people think they know a lot about Miles but they only know the name and the image, the iconography. You say: “Miles Davis” to most people and they go: “Yeah, jazz! He played sax or he played something, right?”

They don’t really know, and that’s fine. I wanted to make a movie for the people who didn’t know about Miles Davis, so they could just enjoy the movie and the music.

A movie for people who don’t know about Miles Davis. I can appreciate that. But do those people want experimental cinema, or do they want “Ray,” but instead of Ray Charles it’s the story of Miles Davis?

His comment brings up an interesting point about how best to show the life and times of Miles Davis in a feature film. To just ‘enjoy the movie and the music’ sounds to me like a recipe for traditional storytelling, yet we have heard the term deconstructed biopic associated with this project so it remains fuzzy which way Cheadle will take the narrative.

He could very well break the story into chapters, which weave in and out of Davis’ life. But without the proper context I’m not sure how someone who knows little or nothing about Davis can appreciate the scope of his life and music with this style of movie-making.

Although a script has been written – and rewritten – there isn’t any hard proof of where Cheadle is steering this project other than the comments he’s made this past year; mostly just reiterating his desire for something different than a traditional, cradle-to-grave storyline.

I’m on record as being fine either way, but I do think a traditional narrative might equal greater success with an audience not that familiar with Miles Davis. So much is still unknown about the scope of this biopic that all we really have is conjecture; whether or not the Miles Movie is a big studio deal, or an indie offering will go a long way in determining just how the story gets told.

I’m just glad he mentioned the movie. With all the Cheadle news these days centering on Iron Man 2 and his poker exploits, it’s mighty nice to see the Miles Davis Biopic get some pub. It remains a project in no hurry to get in front of cameras, but at least Cheadle is thinking about it, mulling over which way to take this very special movie project.

So even a brief goes a long way here and at Miles Davis Online. For now all we can do is speculate and continue asking the big questions – like who is going to play John Coltrane?

Miles Davis Biopic Will Not Be ‘A History Lesson’ Says Don Cheadle

miles-davis-45 In an interview with Ed Potton in the Times of London, Don Cheadle not only mentions his plans to direct and star in the Miles Davis Biopic, but he also reinforces his decision to produce a film that does not follow the ‘Hollywood’ blueprint for biopics.

“I didn’t want to do anything that resembled the biopics I’d seen,” said Cheadle. “I want it to be relevant today, not a history lesson.”

I was unaware that Miles Davis was a childhood hero of Cheadle’s, or just how much he cared about the jazz legend.

Asked about some of his favorite musicians, Cheadle had this to say about Miles Davis:

I’ve loved him since fifth grade, when I started playing saxophone and my parents had his Porgy & Bess album. Very young I was just taken with the music. I was a student of it very early, and that’s just sort of never waned. A lot of people think they know a lot about Miles but they only know the name and the image, the iconography.

You say: “Miles Davis” to most people and they go: “Yeah, jazz! He played sax or he played something, right?”

They don’t really know, and that’s fine. I wanted to make a movie for the people who didn’t know about Miles Davis, so they could just enjoy the movie and the music.

A movie for people who don’t know about Miles Davis. I can appreciate that. But do those people want experimental cinema, or do they want “Ray,” but instead of Ray Charles it’s the story of Miles Davis?

His comment brings up an interesting point about how best to show the life and times of Miles Davis in a feature film. To just ‘enjoy the movie and the music’ sounds to me like a recipe for traditional storytelling, yet we have heard the term deconstructed biopic associated with this project so it remains fuzzy which way Cheadle will take the narrative.

He could very well break the story into chapters, which weave in and out of Davis’ life. But without the proper context I’m not sure how someone who knows little or nothing about Davis can appreciate the scope of his life and music with this style of movie-making.

Although a script has been written – and rewritten – there isn’t any hard proof of where Cheadle is steering this project other than the comments he’s made this past year; mostly just reiterating his desire for something different than a traditional, cradle-to-grave storyline.

I’m on record as being fine either way, but I do think a traditional narrative might equal greater success with an audience not that familiar with Miles Davis. So much is still unknown about the scope of this biopic that all we really have is conjecture; whether or not the Miles Movie is a big studio deal, or an indie offering will go a long way in determining just how the story gets told.

I’m just glad he mentioned the movie. With all the Cheadle news these days centering on Iron Man 2 and his poker exploits, it’s mighty nice to see the Miles Davis Biopic get some pub. It remains a project in no hurry to get in front of cameras, but at least Cheadle is thinking about it, mulling over which way to take this very special movie project.

So even a brief comment goes a long way here and at the Biopic Blog. For now all we can do is speculate and continue asking the big questions – like who is going to play John Coltrane?

* Also posted at The Miles Davis Movie

Miles Davis / From The Archives

miles A very nice (and quick, ironically) look at the brief time tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers spent with Miles Davis and his Second Great Quintet.

A Brief Convergence: Miles Davis and Sam Rivers in 1964

By David Brent Johnson

Rivers filled the tenor chair for several months in 1964, and his time with Miles is one of the more fascinating chapters in the Davis saga. One LP–Miles in Tokyo–is the only musical documentation that Columbia has ever provided of this particular ensemble.

Click here for the full story.

Miles Davis / The Sidemen

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Weekend Reading: The Blue Moment

book_blue_moment “There have been many books about Miles Davis, one of the twentieth century’s most protean musical figures, but The Blue Moment is unlike any other work on the subject.

Richard Williams takes as his starting point the making of Kind of Blue, Davis’s most celebrated album, and shows how movements in art, philosophy and music fed into this meditative, melancholy masterpiece, first released in 1959. The haunting palettes of Picasso, Matisse and Yves Klein influenced the mood of a culture that valued the colour blue so highly; and the blues, mediated by jazz and other kinds of music, had become the sound that signified ‘coolness’.

Williams tells the story of album’s creation in miraculously few hours in a converted Manhattan church and elegantly sketches the roles of the other five musicians who played on the recording. This is then the foundation for an ambitious exploration of Kind of Blue’s influence on the whole course of late-twentieth-century music, which moves in surprising directions through the labyrinth of sound.”

Big Big Big Miles Davis Box Set On The Way

miles-davis-birth1 71 discs! We’re at DEFCON 3 here at MDO headquarters.

Via a report on Pitchfork, word is that on November 10, Columbia/Legacy will release The Complete Columbia Album Collection.

The box will include 70 CDs and one DVD.

My head hurts.

During his tenure at Columbia Records, Miles Davis recorded an awe-inspiring 52 albums. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to own all of them in one gigantic box that will probably be heavy enough to kill someone. The set will also include a previously unreleased live recording of Davis’s performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.

According to Legacy, the CDs will all come in “Japanese-styled mini LP jackets”, which sounds cool. The CDs will include bonus tracks that have been tacked on to Davis reissues over the years. There will also be a 250-page book.

The DVD featured is Live in Europe ’67, which will be on DVD for the first time ever with this set.

The massive collection will be available exclusively from Amazon — for $369.98.

Wow.

Miles Davis, 1948

miles_davis “Was any other revolution in jazz so suave? When Miles Davis led a two-week stand at New York’s fabled Royal Roost in 1948, the music—composed and arranged for a nonet by Gil Evans, John Lewis (later of the Modern Jazz Quartet), Gerry Mulligan, and others—changed jazz forever.”

Click here to continue reading Playing Miles Davis Like It’s 1948 by Christopher DeLaurenti.

Kind of Blue @ The Movies

miles-davis-kind-of-blue-50th-anniversary12 Hats off to Slate for their great Miles Davis coverage. “In honor of the 50th anniversary of the landmark album, Slate has compiled five notable Kind of Blue moments from screen history.”