Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool
Directed by Stanley Nelson
“With sharply edited interviews and stunning archival reach, [the film] fills in nuances of the man that feel fresh and new.”—Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Miles Davis was a horn player, a band leader, and an innovator who throughout his life was elegant, intellectual, vain, callous, conflicted, and controversial. His work was magnificent, mercurial, and genius—the very embodiment of cool. The man with a sound so beautiful, it could break your heart.
The central theme of Miles Davis’s career was his restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms. It made him a star. For the people who loved him most, it also made him incredibly difficult to live with. Consistently, in music and life, Davis broke with convention—and when his work came to represent a new convention, he changed it again. Davis’s bold disregard for tradition, his clarity of vision, his relentless drive, and his constant thirst for new experiences made him an inspiring collaborator to fellow musicians and a cultural icon to generations of listeners. It made him an innovator of music—from bebop to “cool jazz,” modern quintets, orchestral symphonies, jazz fusion, rock ‘n’ roll, and even hip-hop.
Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, studio outtakes, and rare photos, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool tells the story of a truly singular talent and unpacks the man behind the horn. A selection of the Sundance Film Festival. 2019, U.S., DCP, 115 minutes. Recommended for 13+.