The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Presents ‘We Want Miles: Miles Davis vs. Jazz’

Miles Davis vs. Jazz

April 30 to August 29, 2010

With this exhibition, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts pays tribute to Miles Davis (1926-1991), one of the twentieth century’s greatest musicians. The multimedia retrospective (musical excerpts, film and documentary clips, drawings by Miles Davis; paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Mati Klarwein; photographs by Annie Leibovitz and Irving Penn; costumes, musical instruments and scores lent by the Davis family, etc.) recalls the highlights of his life and career, including his memorable concerts in Montreal.

It is an unusual encounter with a complex and committed character, a man of darkness and light, a protean artist, a creative genius who said of himself in 1987 that he had “changed the course of music history five or six times.” The scenography, entirely designed around Davis’s music and the visitor’s listening comfort, includes recordings of the most iconic pieces by this legendary figure, who still arouses passionate admiration and whose influence goes far beyond the boundaries of jazz. This initial venture into the realm of jazz continues the Museum’s exploration of links between the visual arts and music launched with Warhol Live and Imagine.


Miles Davis… Online


# If you’re in Austin, Texas for SXSW be sure to swing by the Miles Davis – Bitches Brew 40th Anniversary Tribute panel. Ashley Kahn, Steve Berkowitz, Erin Davis, Lenny White and Vincent Wilburn Jr. will be on hand to discuss the landmark album. The panel is Thursday, March 18 from 2pm-3pm.

# I have my concerns about GQ, but they do have moments when they get it right: Birth of the Cool: 20 Black Style Pioneers. Curated by the talented Street Etiquette team (Joshua “JKISSI” Kissi and Travis “Trav” Gumbs), it’s a nice list with some beautiful photographs. Here is the Miles Davis entry.

# Has anyone purchased the Monster Miles Davis Tribute Jazz Headphones? If so, should I get myself a set?

# In the Philadelphia native’s long-awaited autobiography, I Walked With Giants, Jimmy Heath recalls being omitted from the credits of a Miles Davis album released in the early 1950s. “This seems to have been a recurring theme in my career,” he writes, ” ‘little guy passed by.’ ” — Time he blew his own horn

# Miles Davis with Father On The Way to Juilliard – Ebony Magazine, November, 1959 / great PHOTO

# Nice AAJ article about the “We Want Miles” Miles Davis Exhibition in Montreal, which runs between April 30 – August 29, 2010.

# Miles Davis clocks in at number 4 on the Listverse 15 Most Influential Jazz Artists list. No complaints here.

A Moment With Betty Davis

bettydavis Via No Depression / ‘The Beautiful Dichotomy of Betty Davis: A Rare Conversation with the Elusive Mistress of Funk’

I am a big fan of Betty Davis. I think she better find a place in the economically-challenged Miles Davis Biopic. That’s good cinema right there. In fact, she might be perfect for a biopic of her own. Also: The Miles Davis Movie: The Betty Year

The Miles Davis Movie: Thinking About The Last Frame

c-sony-music-entertainement1 Though we’re still a bit woozy following yesterday’s Don Cheadle news bombshell about the global economic crisis and former President Bush both obstructing the progress of the Miles Davis Biopic, we must carry on with the business at hand, which is All Things Miles Davis. Now, the biopic might not see the light of day until 2013, but bold conjecture is definitely not hurting because of any economic woes. Nope, we must still discuss the movie.

This all leads us to Fuck Yeah The Last Frame, which is a terrific blog that posts the final frame from a variety of films. The blog is great because it covers so many great films and reminds us that in some cases the final shot of a movie is no big deal, while in other films the last image we see on the screen is so memorable, a final shot that either ties everything up in a nice ribbon, or leaves us guessing.

So of course I am wondering what the last shot of the Miles Davis Biopic might/should be.

Real footage of Miles performing? The cemetery/headstone? A montage of film clips, photos?


The Miles Davis Movie: Don Cheadle Speaks; Blames Slow Development Of Biopic On Global Economic Meltdown


Cheadle Hopes Miles Davis Movie Will Be Resurrected

Cheadle was cast in a biopic of Miles Davis, but the movie was shelved when Hollywood got caught up in the global economic crises. Nearly two years on, the actor hopes the project will finally get the green light, but he’s still fearful it’ll end up on the studios’ scrapheap.

Cheadle tells WENN: “Touch wood, it’s been a long time coming. Working on the script right now and hopefully it will find a home. It’s tough getting movies made right now because President Bush broke the world and the money’s done! Nobody has dough. Studios are corporations and it’s a very corporate model now.” (link)

Click here to actually hear Cheadle lay the blame for the biopic’s woes.

I’ll be honest, I never thought President Bush would be the big hurdle towards making a movie about Miles Davis. I find that statement to be mostly ridiculous. I get that the world is in economic chaos, but I don’t see how the former president should be that much of a roadblock in making the biopic.

I guess the economic climate is fine for mega-Hollywood productions like Iron Man and The Avengers but somehow a biopic about Miles Davis is at the mercy of an unstable global economy. I’m confused.

The good news is that project is ongoing, but seemingly buried beneath a stack of other Don Cheadle movie projects that are weathering this tough economic climate. I noticed the current president avoided any of Cheadle’s blame, though it doesn’t seem that any of the new hope or change is helping the state of the Miles Davis Biopic. I actually wrote last year about whether an Obama presidency might even help the success of a movie about Miles Davis. So far the prez has bigger fish to fry.

I am totally sympathetic to what Cheadle is saying. We’re not talking about the follow-up to Dark Knight here, or a Marvel Comics project – where finding a big budget and then a massive audience is hardly a problem -, but I cannot believe they wouldn’t be able to find someone to finance/distribute the biopic. If there’s money for Beverly Hills Chihuahua then by god there are a few nickels and dimes out there for a film about jazz icon Miles Davis!

But if he is fearful the project will ‘end up on the studios’ scrapheap,’ then perhaps another team should pick up the baton and see if they can get the movie produced. I still believe Cheadle is the right guy for the role of Miles Davis, but it looks like the biopic is going to remain in a vicious cycle. I hope not. I’m sure there are many reasons why the biopic has remained on a slow burn, but blaming the former president feels like a cheap out, especially when the new guy hasn’t done anything, economically speaking, in the way of making the biopic a reality – so it’s a wash in my book.

But I have hope. Onward and upward.

The Miles Davis Movie: Unofficial Teaser Poster Should Be Official!

If you know me then you know I am obsessed with the Miles Davis Biopic. The other day I was chatting with graphic designer Julien Trédan-Turini (interviewed here last week) about the film and my intense curiosity about what the movie poster will (one day) look like.

We’re on step 7 out of 100 (1000?!) in the journey to get a film about Miles Davis on the screen, so it’s going to be a while before anyone sees any posters. But then again I have always been a big fan of conjecture. Before the big, showy movie poster adorns movie theaters everywhere, usually a teaser poster makes the rounds – ramping up the anticipation.

So I mentioned to Julien that if he had a little time it’d be fun to see what he could think up for a cool teaser poster. I’d say he succeeded marvelously. I’m now even more excited for the movie that might or might ever see the light of day!

Julien’s concept is uncluttered, modern and really drives home the anticipation. I love the artistic style of the word ‘Miles’ and how it plays off the more traditional font of ‘Davis.’ You could even drop the ‘Davis’ and let the ‘Miles’ carry the entire poster. Either way – it rocks! Big thanks to Julien. So take note marketing persons who might be involved with the movie. Or drop Julien a line – he knows what’s up!


Artwork is © Julien Trédan-Turini
(also posted over at miles davis online)

The Miles Davis Movie: Filming Miles Davis ‘At Newport 1958′

davis-newport It’s debatable if this performance in 1958 at the Newport Jazz Festival is necessary for the Miles Davis Biopic. The new sextet, with recent additions Jimmy Cobb and Bill Evans, were part of a festival tribute to Duke Ellington, but perhaps more importantly this was the collaboration that would record Kind of Blue six months later.

The bigger question is how much ‘performing’ will audiences see in the film? I recall a whole bunch of performance scenes from “Ray,” a mix of the early years in smoky clubs, studio work and on big tours played in front of thousands.

Even with Don Cheadle’s plan to chop up the narrative, will we still get Miles Davis as a youngster playing in East St. Louis and then the clubs of NYC, followed by various studio work (notably the Kind of Blue sessions) and then on stage at different points in his career? Let’s hope so!

I’d say the more Don Cheadle/Miles Davis performing the better. Plus, the music itself can (and should) be front and center. Here is where the artistry of film-making is requested — a blend of sound and vision that equals the thrilling moment(s) people cling to when the lights go up, the memory happily recalled because it’s so poignant, or just plain entertaining.

I can imagine the Miles Davis Biopic having plenty of those moments. It better.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week: Miles Davis

sbux9 If it takes a Tall Vanilla Latte’ to get more people listening to Miles Davis that is fine by me. Good for you Starbucks, and nice selection Person In Charge of Choosing the Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week.

A&T Theater Department Presents ‘Mad at Miles’

madatmiles The AT&T Register’s LaPorsha Lowry writes…

“The powerful essays by playwright, novelist, essayist, and activist Pearl Cleage were inspired by the troubles in the marriage of Miles Davis and Cicely Tyson. Those problems serve as the backdrop for the play “Mad at Miles: A Black Woman’s Guide To Truth,” interpreted and directed by A&T [North Carolina A&T State University] theater professor Donna Bradby.

The play deals with the abusive behavior of Davis towards Tyson during their marriage, and is funny, angry, and lyrical. The A&T production of the play will feature two casts; the original cast of professional actors and a student cast.”


“Miles Davis is the single greatest American artist of the 20th century…”


Those would be the words of Chris Stadolnik, writer for The Cowl, Providence College’s student-run newspaper since 1935.

You could probably fire up some lively debates with a declaration like that.

But you’ll find no disagreements from me. No way, no sir. But the judgement definitely takes on added weightiness when you see the statement written out like that. But it just looks and sounds… so right!

The Re-Birth of the Cool
Kids, Don’t Skip Those Milestones
By Chris Stadolnik

Miles Davis / The Album Covers


Not only is Porgy and Bess one of my favorite Miles Davis albums and album covers (the original, George Gershwin opera is also a favorite), but I just love the alternate album cover from Fontana Records.

* sessions, commercial releases, singles, reissues, compilations, live recordings…
** mostly just album covers i think look really cool…

Miles Davis / The Sidemen

Philly Joe Jones
Philly Joe Jones

Hey, What’s Don Cheadle Doing?*


Don Cheadle hits out of the sand on the 18th hole as he competes in the 3M Pebble Beach Celebrity Challenge at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Wednesday. The 5-hole tournament raises money for charity.

* when he’s not working on the Miles Davis Biopic

Miles Davis / The Album Covers


* sessions, commercial releases, singles, reissues, compilations, live recordings…
** mostly just album covers i think look really cool…

Miles Davis Exhibit Headed To San Francisco?

paris1 According to Leah Garchick, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, “Noah Griffin had dinner at Postrio the other day with Miles Davis’ son, Erin, who is thinking about bringing to San Francisco a major Miles Davis exhibition.”

The exhibition in question just closed in Paris at the Musée de la musique, and now heads to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in April.