Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Miles Davis - Birth of Cool - Documentary

Of course, Miles Davis is a familiar figure to me and I have some of his records, although I cannot say that I am all that knowledgeable about the man and his life, other than that he was a trumpet master and a junkie, oh, and he was briefly married to the gorgeous funk queen, Betty Davis.

I'm not sure how much more this documentary really filled out my knowledge of the man, but it does have some fantastic live and studio footage of his performances (some truly legendary names and shows here) and there are a lot of interviews with those who were close to him. Lots of musicians appear, as well as his first wife, Frances, but unfortunately, just a short mention (and a quick bit of live footage) of Betty and her considerable influence on Davis' musical journey. The man's own words narrate the story and give us his own interpretation of the intrigues of his life. Miles adapted and grew and created new styles of music even as he fought his inner demons, physical hardships and, of course, drink and drugs. Health issues caused him to take a several year hiatus, but he returned more popular than ever until his untimely death at the age of 65.

Well worth watching if only for the terrific footage, but it is also a good overview of the jazz movement in general and Miles and his important contemporaries in particular. Currently on Netflix - check it out!