Happy New Year From Miles Davis Online!

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* wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!

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The Miles Davis Movie: What Scene Would You Especially Like To See In The Biopic?

Let’s not spend the next 100 hours dissecting every important and negligible detail in the life of Miles Davis. However, there are numerous moments of public record that serve as significant milestones during the life and times of the great jazz man.

No doubt many of those moments will make their way into the film version of Miles Davis’ life. Some will end up on the cutting room floor (and possibly onto the DVD), while others won’t even be considered for the big screen.

Unlike a book where the author can spend page after page constructing a beautiful narrative with faultless detail, this is about the movies — and the mantra is show, don’t tell.

So there’s only so much depth you can attempt from one scene to the next; we cannot have the audience checking their cell phones and not paying attention.

Would I like to see a 4-hour movie? Yes. But I also want people to see the movie, and getting anyone to the theater for $11, or $12 bucks a ticket these days is tough enough – so you go with the blueprint and try to make it a special experience. And though it looks as if Don Cheadle’s ‘vision’ for the Miles Davis Biopic is to not make it a history lesson, rather a ‘deconstructed biopic,’ the important parts of Davis’ life still must be recognized in the movie – regardless of how the story is shaped and filmed.

So, scenes: In no particular order…..

Miles Davis kicks drugs

Meeting Bird

The incident outside the Birdland nightclub in New York City, Davis is beaten up by the police and arrested

The Kind of Blue sessions

July 1955, Davis plays with Thelonius Monk on “‘Round Midnight” at the Newport Jazz Festival

Anything with Betty Mabry

The Bitches Brew sessions

Working with Gil Evans

I’m sure I will think of 10 more an hour from now, but at least that gets the conversation started.

Miles Davis lived such a fascinating life it’s difficult to assemble all the finest and most poignant parts to fit into the structure of a film; of course those who knew him intimately will have a much wider scope of memories than those of us who know him only through books, magazines, TV shows, the ‘net and most importantly – his music.

Yet even from afar there is so much to know about the life and music of Miles Davis. The biopic should no doubt help frame, even in a 2-hour running time, a Best Of, if you will, of Miles’ life.

And who knows, we might be surprised at what ultimately gets into the film and might even learn a new thing or two about the jazz legend along the way.

Happy Holidays From Miles Davis Online!

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The Miles Davis Movie: Finding The Voice

miles_davis-walkin1 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.

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.

Now that we’re mostly convinced the Miles movie will not be a conventional narrative, rather than a ‘deconstructed biopic’ style that has yet to reveal just how non-traditional Don Cheadle wants to go, I’m curious as to how close the actor 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, in my opinion, to completing the puzzle.

In his 2001 editorial, “Miles Davis: A Jazz Genius in the Guise of a Hustler,” Robin Kelley writes of Miles’ voice –

“…the voice Amiri Baraka once described as his ‘hipster foghorn bass.’ He used his voice to great effect, for put- downs, romancing and biting one-liners.”


Miles Davis / The Album Covers

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* sessions, commercial releases, singles, reissues, compilations, live recordings…

** mostly just album covers i think look really cool…

Miles Davis / The Album Covers

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* sessions, commercial releases, singles, reissues, compilations, live recordings…

** mostly just album covers i think look really cool…

Miles Davis / The Album Covers

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* sessions, commercial releases, singles, reissues, compilations, live recordings…

** mostly just album covers i think look really cool…

‘Between the Devil & Miles Davis’

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Amo is a hardened journalist who smokes and drinks too much, though not nearly enough for her own taste. Assigned to profile the late jazz legend Miles Davis, she finds herself at a creative impasse. How does one approach such an ‘overly-written-about’ artist from a fresh angle, and what’s her opinion worth anyway in a world so fast unraveling? At her wit’s end, she stumbles into the mysterious ‘Smokeasy’, the only bar in Manhattan where adults are allowed to behave as such; and it is that misty room that Amo falls under the spell of a ghostly bartender.

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Miles Davis Is In Your Living Room

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Miles Davis: All Of You, ’64

The Miles Davis Movie: More Box Office Success In The U.S., Or Abroad?

miles-tokyo1 While I do think the domestic release of the Miles Davis Biopic will bring with it a hefty share of media coverage and hype, critical debate, awards discussion and positive ticket sales (I can only assume), I can foresee the film doing big business abroad — perhaps even better abroad versus the U.S.

There’s the whole jazz appreciation angle; this isn’t the ‘40s and ‘50s and whatever Wynton Marsalis is doing right now, or whatever Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, etc. did back in the day, does not carry the pop culture/media weight these to battle the mindless candy often wrecking the very fabric of pop culture.

Yes, jazz fans are everywhere. Many are longtime devotees; many are just discovering the music. But jazz is definitely on the fringe for better or worse. There is the nostalgic element, with almost mythic figures like Armstrong, Bird, Coltrane and Miles, carrying the torch and deemed too damn cool and too damn important not to know about or listen to, so that helps. That built-in, old school nostalgia might help the Miles Davis biopic as well.

The Ken Burns documentary didn’t hurt either.

I think jazz is more popular in Europe and elsewhere. But I could be wrong. It’s presumption. But I can see the Miles Davis biopic attracting big, ticket sales in Europe and Japan.

And yes, I fully realize a post about such matters is ridiculously early in the process.

The Miles Davis Movie: Don Cheadle In Paris

In between all the Iron Man 2 hullabaloo, it’s easy to forget Don Cheadle is the guy with the enormous responsibility to make a biopic about Miles Davis.

So when we get a glimpse of the actor strolling around the We Want Miles exhibit in Paris, it tells those of us following the long and winding road of the Miles Davis Movie that Cheadle is still thinking about it. Perhaps a research trip? Maybe he needs a shot of inspiration? Or maybe he can easily jet off to Paris, so why not hit the Cite de la Musique and see what’s up with this acclaimed exhibit?

We all know he’s plenty busy running around Hollywood as War Machine, but one day the guy is going to ‘be’ Miles Davis – and that remains a really big deal.

No doubt he enjoyed his tour of the exhibit.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Barber
via: milesdavis.com

The Miles Davis Movie: Don Cheadle In Paris For Miles Davis Exhibit

In between all the Iron Man 2 hullabaloo, it’s easy to forget Don Cheadle is the guy with the enormous responsibility to make a biopic about Miles Davis.

So when we get a glimpse of the actor strolling around the We Want Miles exhibit in Paris, it tells those of us following the long and winding road of the Miles Davis Movie that Cheadle is still thinking about it.

Perhaps he’s on a research trip. Maybe he needs a shot of inspiration, or to fine-tune his character development. Or maybe he can easily jet off to Paris, so why the hell not hit the Cite de la Musique and see what’s up with this acclaimed exhibit.

We all know he’s plenty busy running around Hollywood as War Machine, but one day the guy is going to ‘be’ Miles Davis – and that remains a really big deal.

No doubt he enjoyed his tour of the exhibit.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Barber

House of Representatives Honors Kind of Blue

miles-daviskindof-blue Normally entangled in one debacle or another, the House of Representatives took a pause today from trying to burn the country to the ground and come together to vote on an issue everyone can agree on – regardless of political or musical persuasion.

Fifty years after Miles Davis recorded Kind of Blue, the House voted Tuesday to honor the iconic album’s contribution to the genre.

Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who sponsored the measure, said the group “made musical history and changed the artistic landscape of this country and in some ways the world.” The resolution recognizing the album’s 50th anniversary passed on a 409-0 vote.

The resolution is H.Res.894.

Miles Davis / VH1 1987

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Click HERE to see a rare, and damn good, clip of Miles Davis from the early days of VH1, long before it turned into a receptacle for utterly ridiculous reality shows. Nevertheless, VH1 was once cool. Here is the proof.

I wasn’t able to embed the clip, sorry, but for sure check it out.