A Miles Davis Fever Dream: DP Roberto Schaefer on Miles Ahead

Like many aspiring filmmakers, cinematographer Roberto Schaefer spent his youth fermenting his imagination by creating his own backyard epics. But unlike your typical kid – who concentrates on, depending on the era, recreating Harryhausen or Spielberg or maybe just blowing up G.I. Joes with M-80s on camera – Schaefer crafted abstract, experimental 8mm films.

“I did do a couple of stop-motion things, but I was always more into art than movies growing up,” Schaefer said. “I liked going to the movies, but I wasn’t thinking about making movies like the ones I saw at the theater. I was thinking about film as art for art’s sake.”

Source: Filmmaker Magazine

What Would Miles Davis Do? Robert Glasper Has an Idea

When Miles Davis died 25 years ago, he left behind a peerless body of work, a complicated legend and a formidable archival trove. Given his compulsion for reinvention — the spark behind his famous boast that he’d “changed music five or six times” — his death at 65 also opened the door to endless rounds of conjecture. What other directions might Davis, the volatile and enigmatic trumpeter, have explored? Who would he be collaborating with today?

Source: The New York Times

‘Miles Ahead’ Reviews Roll In Following NYFF Debut

You can look back over the years of this Miles Davis website and find plenty of blog posts about my desire to see a cradle-to-grave blueprint for the story of Miles Davis. With the talented Don Cheadle in the director’s chair, and in the starring role, this Hollywood-ized style of movie-making was not to be. To be honest, I was just happy something was going to make it to the big screen. I just felt that a traditional bio-pic might allow for a broader story, which might help appeal to a wider audience.

But that doesn’t mean I am not on board with what Cheadle has delivered.

I have not seen the film, so all I can do is check the reviews that are trickling in following the premiere of “Miles Ahead” this past weekend in New York at the New York Film Festival.

Looking over seven or eight reviews online it seems the film is getting mostly (very) positive comments from the critics.

Still, my favorite comment so far is from Matt Patches in his Esquire.com review:

Miles Ahead is the rare biopic in need of Hollywood’s “cradle to grave” blueprints. By scrapping Davis’ origin story—picking up his first trumpet, finding his sound, abandoning the culture around him—the film simply insists upon importance. The music never speaks for itself.

I am very excited to see a film about Miles Davis make it to the big screen. It might not be what I had in mind as I put together in my mind the pieces of a biopic about the jazz legend. But kudos to Cheadle and his team for staying true to the vision they designed for the film. Nothing is perfect and not everyone is going to get on board with the ‘caper’ element built into the story, but it still looks very enjoyable.

Look, I still think a 4-part miniseries on PBS would do the trick by covering the trumpeter’s life and times from start to finish. But I am so pleased to see the final piece of a puzzle I started writing about way back in 2007 finally come together.

Wynton Marsalis Discusses Why Miles Davis Kicked Him Off Stage

davis-davis Interesting WSJ video interview with Wynton Marsalis. He speaks about “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration,” a jazz/gospel collaboration featuring Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Orchestra, plus provides some insight into the famous incident involving Miles Davis.

As Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has led a campaign to bring jazz to the mainstream, an effort that’s brought him widespread praise and some sniping. In an on camera interview with the WSJ, Marsalis discussed his feelings about the criticism and a 1986 incident in Vancouver when late jazz legend Miles Davis kicked him off stage, suggesting that Marsalis wasn’t good enough to play with Davis and his cohorts.

“He decided at a certain point to make the decisions he made about the music. He was disrespectful to everybody,” Marsalis said. “Me, my father. It didn’t make a difference to him.”

Click to watch video.

Previous: Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and the Big Showdown of ’86

Philip Bailey Talks About “Blue in Green” By Miles Davis

kind_of_blue Nice Playlist episode in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal – singer-songwriter Philip Bailey, best known for his amazing work as a longtime member of Earth, Wind & Fire, dishes on fond memories of Miles Davis’ classic “Blue in Green.”

“Blue in Green” [by Miles Davis and Bill Evans] is a slow ballad and was warm and comforting to me. It was like having a really cool babysitter. To my young ears, the music sounded sophisticated and unpredictable. But in a scary way, I understood exactly what was going on. I could feel that the musicians were saying something important—even before I knew they were jazz giants. I could feel the difference. Miles was on the outside, remote, not inside trying to trick the band into playing junk.

I loved the title of “Blue in Green”—as if the color blue was seeping into green, slowly changing it and creating a new color. The song opens with pianist Bill Evans playing these beautiful, delicate chords before Davis comes in with his piercing, muted trumpet. To me, Evans’s piano is the green—evoking innocence with splashes of beautiful color, like someone who’s chaste and a little uncertain.

Click here to read the full article.

A Miles Davis-Nile Rodgers Collaboration Would Most Likely Have Been Awesome

51c0bqyb60l It seems that for the talented Nile Rodgers, who just ripped it up a few days back at the Glastonbury festival, his biggest regret is never working with jazz legend Miles Davis.

The Chic guitarist, who has worked with the likes of Davis Bowie, and most recently Daft Punk on ‘Get Lucky’, exclusively told BANG Showbiz:

The thing that I lament most in my life is that Miles Davis wanted me to write a hit record for him, but he was Miles Davis, so he didn’t just call me and say Nile, ‘Will you write me a hit record?’ He went, ‘Nile write me a mother-f***ing ‘Good Times’.’ I didn’t know that’s what he really meant. I was embarrassed because we were good friends and I knew he had a wicked sense of humour, so I thought he wanted me to write a cool song, so I kept writing these jazz fusion songs and every time I turned one of them in, he’d say, Man I can write that. I want you to write me a mother-f***ing ‘Good Times’.

via contact music

Miles Davis with Quincy Jones Live at Montreux 1991 Set For Release On DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital

MilesDavisMontreux1991DVDsleevehr On March 19 Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Miles Davis with Quincy Jones and the Gil Evans Orchestra Live at Montreux 1991. The show was Davis’ last Montreux appearance, taking place just months before his death.

A tribute to arranger Gil Evans, who had died three years earlier, the performance featured Davis, Kenny Garrett (saxophone) and Wallace Rooney (trumpet, flugelhorn). Quincy Jones conducted the Gil Evans Orchestra and the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band with the addition of Benny Bailey (trumpet, flugelhorn), Carles Benavent (bass) and Grady Tate (drums).

Extras include interviews with Claude Nobs, Monty Alexander, Helen Merrill, Betty carter, Charlie Haden, Gil Goldstein, Stanley Clarke, Jean Luc Ponty, Al Di Meola & Michel Petrucciani.


1) Introduction
2) Boplicity
3) Maids Of Cadiz
4) The Duke
5) My Ship
6) Miles Ahead
7) Blues For Pablo
8) Orgone
9) Gone, Gone, Gone
10) Summertime
11) Here Come De Honey Man
12) The Pan Piper
13) Solea

Link: JazzTimes

SXSW Panel To Discuss 1969 Miles Davis Quintet

If you are planning to be in Austin next month for the 2013 SXSW music, film, and interactive conference, you can make it a point to swing by the SXSW panel that will celebrate and discuss the classic 1969 line-up (Miles Davis Bootleg 2: The Lost Quintet).

Moderated by author Ashley Kahn, the panel is scheduled for Thursday, March 14 between 12:30PM and 1:30PM.

Miles Davis Has Yet To Be Featured On American Masters

milesdavis-americanmasters I just finished watching a terrific episode of American Masters about the history of the Joffrey Ballet, and it occurred to me that in the time the excellent documentary series debuted on PBS in 1986 they have yet to feature Miles Davis.

Unless they are working on something right now, I would like to personally ask series creator Susan Lacy to think about adding a 2-hour biography of Miles Davis to an upcoming season.

I was actually surprised not to find Miles listed among the almost 200 notable artists and organizations that have been featured over the years. Lord knows there is enough of his professional and personal life to make for a sensational episode. If handled properly by the right team, I think we could end up with a truly definitive (visual) narrative about jazz icon Miles Davis.

It goes without saying that Miles Davis is, indeed, an American Master.

And I highly recommend Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance. I am a novice at anything ballet related, but this is an interesting and exciting story about the history of Joffrey Ballet, and it founders, Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino.

Miles Davis Gets A Mention On Parks And Recreation

One of my favorite TV shows is Parks and Recreation. So I was mighty pleased to hear the name Miles Davis called out in the show’s cold open Thursday night (11/29). Designed as an NPR spoof, the opening set-up takes place in Wamapoke County Public Radio station.

Becasue their listeners love their jazz music, the decision is made to play a recording of Benny Goodman played over a separate recording of Miles Davis.

Jazz rules!

Miles Davis And LCD Soundsystem In A Very Cool Mash-Up

Here is a cool YouTube mash-up of Miles Davis playing a selection of music from the film Elevator To The Gallows along with LCD Soundsystem’s “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.”

Miles Davis Fans Should Watch ‘The Miles Davis Story’

Two hours. Well worth a viewing if you haven’t seen it already. It’s not perfect, not the ultra-comprehensive, 4-hour doc I believe is necessary to tell the whole story of Miles Davis. But it is still a very solid overview of the man and his music.

Miles Davis Classic Gets A Jam Band Workout

A talented blues/rock band out of Massachusetts, The Purps inject the Miles Davis classic “So What” with plenty of soul, a downright infectious, bluesy groove, and sweet guitar solos.

Miles Davis Quintet Part Of New Best Of Series

All the fine details from the gang at antimusic.com.

The debut collection of Concord Music Group’s The Very Best of series will include the music of jazz legends like the Miles Davis Quintet, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Rollins, and Chet Baker. The new series is set for release this summer.

The Very Best of the Miles Davis Quintet captures the legendary trumpeter and his four luminary sidemen — saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones — during the mid 1950s, a pivotal period for Miles in particular and one of the most fertile periods in the evolution of jazz. Specifically, the tracks are culled from a series of sessions supervised by Prestige label head Bob Weinstock between November 1955 and October 1956.

“The performances on The Very Best of the Miles Davis Quintet are among the trumpeter’s first, most convincing steps — music with which he first established his reputation and most importantly, his identity,” says Ashley Kahn in his liner notes to the compilation. “At the midpoint of the 1950s, this was his first mature style — a composite of musical influences, balancing what could seem contradictory ideas: a bebopper who broke through to mainstream awareness as a romantic balladeer, a singer who sang not with words but a trumpet.”

The collection captures Miles’s quintet “at the top of their game,” says Kahn, “just before he ended a five-year run with the small independent Prestige label, and departed for the big leagues — namely Columbia Records. This is the music that first earned him national attention, and that continued to do so even after Miles shifted to Columbia; Prestige’s stockpiling strategy meant that many of these recordings only became publicly available well into the 1960s. In the end, these sides proved part of a solid foundation to a career that would reach higher and higher over the next thirty-five years.”

Happy Birthday Miles Davis