biopic

The Miles Davis Movie: What Songs Should Be Featured In The Biopic?

From various reports we know that a long while back producer Cary Brokaw reached out to former Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman John Calley to lock up the rights to much of Miles Davis’ Columbia Records catalog (now owned by Sony BMG), so it looks like the biopic should be loaded with classic tunes.

It’s always fun to wonder about what songs must/should be featured in the film. I’m sure there will be plenty of performance sequences as well as montages (maybe), to spotlight the music. Then there’s the film score, which we reported last week that none other than Herbie Hancock was on board to handle that vital task.

But back to the question at hand: what songs should be featured in the Miles Davis movie?

I’ll drop 6 that come to mind right now that I think should be in the film:

“Summertime” (Porgy and Bess)
“All Blues” (Kind of Blue)
“Baby Won’t You Please Come Home” (Sketches of Spain)
“My Funny Valentine” (My Funny Valentine)
“Blues for Pablo” (Miles Ahead)
“Agitation” (E.S.P.)

I didn’t exactly go crazy with my picks, but they are personal favorites. There’s so much great music to choose from, and I’m sure song selection will be key to providing the film its heart and soul. Without knowing the final structure of the movie (even though it’s going to be the opposite of a ‘typical’ Hollywood biopic) it’s tough to know how long the filmmakers plan to spend in each of Davis’ classic periods of musical output.

Because jazz music is not exactly a style of music captivating audiences right now (or at least the attention of the greater marketplace), as compared to top 40, rap, etc…, it will be interesting to see how the film is presented to its intended audience.

Even a casual music fan probably has heard of Miles Davis, and his music grabs the attention of younger listeners all the time (record sales aren’t too shabby either), but the subject is not Ray Charles, or Elvis and Johnny Cash (which I think many would say is more accessible, even though I don’t agree). I’m curious to know how the producers will market the film, where the focus will be. Is jazz music too ‘inside’ for a big, Hollywood movie? Then again, this might be minor-big, Hollywood movie in scale – I have no idea about budgets, etc…

I don’t know if jazz films like “Round Midnight,” “Bird” and “Kansas City” can be described as blockbuster-type films (not that they were intended to be). Even “Mo’ Better Blues,” with it’s star talent and director, isn’t like an “Iron Man.” Those films all definitely have a specific tenor, which I think work quite well.

In the end, it’s fun to start thinking about how some of Miles Davis’ best-loved songs (and maybe, hopefully some hidden gems) will look/feel/sound on the big screen.

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4 thoughts on “The Miles Davis Movie: What Songs Should Be Featured In The Biopic?

  1. The 6 tracks i think should be there:
    Foot Prints (Miles Smiles)
    Basin Street Blues (Seven Steps To Heaven)
    Eighty One (ESP)
    Blue In Green (Kind Of Blue)
    All Of You (Miles In Europe)
    Fall (Nefertiti)

    it’s a selection without a fusion time , that i like too.

    remembering: miles tracks on Louis malle’s movie, Ascenseur Pour L’échafaud.

  2. Blue in Green has got to be included. I think it is one of the best jazz performances ever, if not the best. Others I would include:

    So What (Kind of Blue)
    Tutu (Tutu)
    Bitches Brew (Bitches Brew)
    ‘Round Midnight (Round About Midnight)
    Two Bass Hit (Milestones)
    Summertime (Porgy & Bess)
    Donna Lee (Not sure what album, it’s on disc 1 of the Miles Davis Anthology, with Charlie Parker)
    Time After Time (You’re Under Arrest)

    These aren’t necessarily my favorites but I think they offer an okay overview of Miles’ musical career (of course it totally skips Sketches of Spain and his later hip-hopish music). I guess it depends what kind of film this is supposed to be as well.

  3. Definitely Blue in Green has to be included. That’s my favorite song by Miles Davis. All those others are great though another of my personal favorites is Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus) from Porgy and Bess. I always thought that one sounded really cool and that it suits the mystique of Miles Davis.

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