Hey, What’s Don Cheadle Doing?*

don-style The following Don Cheadle news comes via Deadline Hollywood and reporter Nellie Andreeva:

Don Cheadle, star of Showtime’s upcoming comedy series House of Lies, is expanding his relationship with the pay cable network through a first-look deal for his Crescendo Prods. Under the one-year pact, Cheadle and his producing partners Kay Liberman and Lenore Zerman will develop and executive produce series projects for Showtime. At UTA-repped Crescendo, the projects will be shepherded by development executive Kathryn Tyus-Adair.

Since its launch six years ago, the film and TV production company has had first-look deals with Overture on the feature side and NBC for television. Crescendo’s latest movie, comedy The Guard, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will be released next month.

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


Miles Davis | Around The Web

A Weekly Round-Up Of Miles Davis News & Notes

1. Miles Davis: Peeking Through the Blindfold

There’s a lot more to Davis’s vastly complex aesthetic psychology and artistic transformations and conflicts. It’s enough to note that he knew he needed something from Dolphy and Taylor—and that he needed it more than they needed, at that point, anything from him—and that this would have sufficed to arouse the lion’s wrath and provoke him to a mighty artistic challenge. [the new yorker]

2. My Terrifyingly Gracious Meeting With Miles Davis

Overly prepared and properly terrified – I was well aware Davis could be contentious – I turned up at least a half hour early for the interview, and then said nothing as Davis, fresh from swimming for exercise, walked past me. I didn’t know what to do – what’s the protocol when you’re dealing with a legend? Finally, a publicist arrived to introduce me. I was quaking when Davis and I shook hands. [wsj.com]

3. Miles Davis Live Performances Coming To DVD

Eagle Rock Entertainment has released the Miles Davis Live At Montreux – Highlights 1973-1991 DVD, which as the title hints at, is comprised of standout performances from seven performances over an 18-year period. After first appearing at the festival in 1973, Davis did not return back until 1984. But once he did, he made regular appearances at Montreux, including performances in ’85, ’86, ’89, ’90, and just a few months before his death in 1991. [ugo.com]

4. Miles Davis Septet live in Oslo, Norway 1971

A TV broadcast from Norway turned up from Miles Davis’ infamous 1971 tour of Europe and the neighboring places that housed this type of free electronic music. Completely unreleased until now, this is a true gem in the world of electronic music with a heavy jazz approach. Miles Davis at this point was riding a huge wave of success from the release of Bitches Brew the previous year. This tour was another expansion of the sounds he was bringing to the world that were completely his. [sacvs.wordpress.com]

5. Tribute To Miles: A Conversation With Herbie Hancock

“I kept hearing these rumors that Miles was looking for me, and I knew that Miles was in a transition–he had moved from the band he had Wynton Kelly, and John Coltrane was already on his own. So, I heard this rumor that Miles was looking for me, and I didn’t believe a word of it, right? One day, Donald said to me, “Look, when Miles calls, tell him you’re not working with anybody.” I said, “Donald, first of all, Miles isn’t going to call. Secondly, I wouldn’t do that to you. All the stuff that you’ve done for me, I wouldn’t disrespect you in that way.” Then, Donald said, “Listen, if I stood in the way of your having the great opportunity to work with Miles Davis, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. You take that opportunity.” [huffington post]

6. Kind of Screwed

Last year, I was threatened with a lawsuit over the pixel art album cover for Kind of Bloop. Despite my firm belief that I was legally in the right, I settled out of court to cut my losses. This ordeal was very nerve-wracking for me and my family, and I’ve had trouble writing about it publicly until now. [waxy]

7. Miles Davis’ Wives

Painter George Condo must have swooned. He came of age alongside Basquiat and Keith Haring and recently designed the risque, quaintly crude covers for Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but it’s Davis he listened to growing up. His first big-deal painting, exhibited at the 1987 Whitney Biennial and later bought by Eli Broad, was a colorful opus called Dancing to Miles. In 1991, he created a series of etching in response to Sketches of Spain. Through September 3rd, you can see them at Jack Rutberg Gallery in mid-city L.A. [dailyserving.com]

The Miles Davis Movie: Don Cheadle Says ‘It’s Not A Biopic’

Collider makes my day with a new interview with Don Cheadle.

In between discussing Iron Man 3, The Avengers and his new Showtime project House of Lies, Collider’s Sheila Roberts was able to get Cheadle to discuss the Miles Davis Biopic.

Q: A while back you talked to us about the Miles Davis project with a lot of enthusiasm, but we haven’t heard anything about it. Could you bring us up to date where it stands?

Don Cheadle: It’s still grinding. We’re talking about coming onto these films and trying to get the financing for stuff that’s not your standard, down the middle of the road studio movie fare. It’s tough. People think it’s niche, although our treatment of the script, it’s not a biopic. It’s not deep. It’s not serious fare. It’s not a cradle to grave sort of overview of his entire life.

The movie takes place over a day and a half of his life — a very intense day and a half of his life but a lot of people haven’t even engaged because of what they perceive it’s going to be. They go “Oh, we don’t want to do a movie like that.” I say “Have you read it?” “No, I haven’t read it.” “Well read it and then say you don’t want to do a movie like that.” So it’s having to push through a lot of these things and confront people. Once they read it, they’re like “Oh, this is great.” So everyone’s really dying to be the second person to say yes and to invest in this film.

It’s clear to me that the money quote is: “The movie takes place over a day and a half of his life.”

Cheadle has already told us the biopic was never going to be cradle to grave, but this really underscores just how not-like-a-normal-biopic the film is designed to be.

I have always preferred an overview style of film for the biopic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think this type of ‘deconstructed biopic‘ can’t be wildly entertaining and successful. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was really hoping for a more ‘life and times’ biopic. And that could very well be because it’s what I am most accustomed to as a moviegoer.

I love Ray. I love The Buddy Holly Story. I love like Bird. So it’s in my cinema DNA to gravitate towards more cradle to grave films about famous artists.

What I really would love to know is what ‘day and a half’ of Miles Davis’ life Cheadle plans to focus on. Is it a real day in the jazz icon’s life, or simply invented for film?

When Cheadle says, “It’s not deep. It’s not serious fare,” I have no clue how to figure what he means. It’s not a comedy, so we have to assume it’s a drama — but not a serious drama.

The curiosity factor jumps 10 notches based on Cheadle’s new comments. Yes, we now can put to bed any hopes of a detailed film about the life and career of the legendary trumpeter. But we’re also totally in the dark about how Cheadle’s ‘day and a half in the life of Miles Davis movie’ is going to play out.

Maybe an elaborate biopic of Miles Davis that follows the trumpeter through his life and career is just too damn expensive and too damn complicated for a 2 1/2 hour movie. Maybe zeroing in on a very specific, very important day in his life was the best way for Cheadle to get this project off the ground.

It looks like it’s going to be a struggle regardless of what kind of movie they want to make.

Miles Davis Soundboard: File Under Things We Need

I could be wrong but I do not believe there exists a Miles Davis Soundboard. I even checked soundboard.com and nope, of the 75k-plus Soundboards not one is a Miles Davis.

Any Alec Baldwin Soundboard always makes me chuckle, the Judd Nelson/Breakfast Club is great and Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket is a Soundboard favorite. There are thousands, so I could easily go on and on.

But the point is that someone needs to make a Miles Davis Soundboard immediately. I’m just not tech savvy enough to tackle such an endeavor, so I call upon someone, anyone to make it happen.

I admit it will not be as easy to extract a wealth of great verbal content, like say from a popular movie or famous actor. However, there should be enough good content on YouTube to blend with some of Davis’ more notable comments caught on various albums to develop a brief, albeit cool Soundboard.

The Miles Davis Lounge Is As Cool As It Sounds

The Miles Davis Lounge, located inside the luxurious Kulm Hotel St.Moritz, is ‘a place for fans and music lovers.’

The Miles Davis Lounge, perfectly situated in the heart of St. Moritz, is also the latest addition to the Festival da Jazz; the fifth installment of the jazz festival in the elegant resort town of St.Moritz begins July 14th and runs until August 14th.

From Thursday to Saturday, the Miles Davis Lounge closes out the evenings with a series of Round Midnight Concerts.

As the name of the famous Thelonius Monk standard suggests, the concerts start around the midnight hour and feature mainly excellent Swiss bands – but there is plenty of opportunity for musicians to join the fun and jam onstage. The ‘official’ concerts last for an hour.

With the Miles Davis Lounge, Kulm Hotel manager Dominique N. Godat underlines the character of “savoir vivre” at the 5-star hotel that offers stunning views over Lake St. Moritz.

“The lounge is a place where connoisseurs and music lovers come together to enjoy a drink in a pleasing atmosphere,” said Godat.

The Miles Davis Lounge is quite sizable and beautifully designed; the lounge is the largest in the Engadine valley in Switzerland. The handsome wood paneling, warm decor and floor to ceiling panoramic windows with views of the beautiful countryside no doubt provide an ideal setting for late night jazz and cocktails.

Here is the Festival da Jazz program schedule.

It’s settled. I have to make a pilgrimage to the Miles Davis Lounge in St. Moritz. How can I not?

Miles Davis At Isle Of Wight Is One Of The ’50 Key Events In The History Of Jazz Music’

So says The Guardian, which lists the Miles Davis performance on August 29, 1970 in front of 600,000 people at the Isle of Wight at #38 in their series of the 50 key events in the history of Jazz music.

Writes Richard Williams:

The coolest man on the planet took the stage at the Isle of Wight festival towards the end of the afternoon on Saturday 29 August 1970. He followed Joni Mitchell (who had been forced to deal with a one-man stage invasion by a stoned hippy before ending her set with a pointed version of Woodstock) and Tiny Tim (who had delighted the listeners by crooning There’ll Always Be an England while strumming his ukelele like George Formby’s American nephew).

The weather was balmy, a hot-air balloon hovered above Afton Down, the crowd numbered 600,000, the situationists agitating for free entry had quietened down, and Miles Davis was about to perform to the biggest audience ever faced by a jazz musician, before or since.

It should be noted that the Miles Davis release of Kind of Blue in 1959 was The Guardian’s #28 in their series of the ’50 key events in the history of jazz music. I would have slotted it higher, but oh well.


Photograph: David Redfern/Redferns

The Legacy Of The 1955-56 Miles Davis Quintet

Mick Carlon has penned an absolutely terrific article for JazzTimes about the Miles Davis Quintet of 1955-1956. Carlon revisits the legacy of the trumpeter’s influential group with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.

Here’s a snippet:

The quintet—or, as many critics referred to it: The Quintet—recorded their first-to-be-released album on November 16, 1955 in Rudy Van Gelder’s Hackensack, New Jersey studio. The resulting album, simply titled Miles, is relaxed and swinging. Highlights include a lovely version of the Ellington chestnut “Just Squeeze Me” and Benny Golson’s “Stablemates.”

Speaking of stables, critics have remarked how Coltrane at this point in his development sounds like a young colt attempting to stand on wobbly legs. However, I hear an adventurous young artist, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before launching into passionate solos. Combined with Davis’ spare, less-is-more style, the effect is perfect.

* The Miles Davis Movie: Filming the First Great Quintet

Miles Davis Makes Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne’s Favorite Albums List

Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne recently sat down with The Quietus to reveal and discuss his 13 favorite albums.

Davis’ Bitches Brew clocks in at #3, right behind Live at Leeds (The Who) and White Album (Beatles) – both pretty darn good albums.

Coyne talks about the legendary Bitches Brew w/ The Quietus:

Even with these three records you start to see that it’s not about precision, it’s not about songwriting. It’s about getting into another realm of the way you can make music. I try to forget about writing songs sometimes, because it can be a trap. You think about it too much. A lot of times the greatest music comes from playing it, then organising it later, you know? You have to surrender sometimes and let music do its thing. Bitches Brew is one of those records.

You can record music any way you want, but you try to remember that you don’t want everything to be perfect. You don’t always want the microphone to be in front of the speaker. Sometimes you want the microphone to be in another room to the one you’re playing in. Dave Fridmann always has these secret ambient mics going on all the time; you don’t know where they are or what instruments they’re picking up. Which I want him to do – I want to be surprised. Sometimes you’re a bit frustrated or bored with what you’ve recorded, he’ll grab one of these little ambient mics and say ‘What about that one?’ and I’ll be like ‘Oh, fuck yeah’. There’s some other nuance, some other atmosphere that’s in there.

So I think Bitches Brew is most in line with that. Sometimes the best thing you can do with a song is just make it and then completely fuck with it later.

Wayne Coyne’s 13 favorite albums:

1. The Beatles The Beatles (White Album)
2. The Who Live At Leeds
3. Miles Davis Bitches Brew
4. Yo La Tengo Popular Songs
5. Marnie Stern This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That
6. Boris Smile
7. LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening
8. Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon
9. The Wizard Of Oz Original Soundtrack
10. Tobacco Manic Meat
11. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV
12. Jefferson Airplane Surrealistic Pillow
13. Stravinsky Firebird Suite

via rockonthestreets.com

Miles Davis / In Pictures

Miles Davis And Santana

Miles Davis Octet with Carlos Santana
Amnesty International’s 25th Anniversary Benefit Concert
June 15, 1986
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ