Stanley Nelson’s deep dive into the world of a beloved music giant, Miles Davis: Birth of Cool, will make its nationally broadcast debut on the PBS series “American Masters” tomorrow night, February 25, at 9 p.m.
A visionary kKnown for his restless aesthetic, Davis is widely regarded as one of music’s most innovative, influential and respected figures. With full access to the Miles Davis Estate, the film features never-before-seen footage, including studio clips from his recording sessions, rare photos and new interviews. Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Clive Davis, Wayne Shorter, Davis’ son Erin Davis and nephew Vince Wilburn, bassist and Davis collaborator Marcus Miller and Ron Carter are among the luminaries weighing in on Davis’ life and career..
“The story of Miles Davis – who he was as a man and an artist – has often been told as the story of a drug-addicted genius,” Nelson said. “You rarely see a portrait of a man who worked hard to perfect his craft, a man who studied all forms of music in depth, from Baroque to Indian Classical. An elegant man who could deliver ballads with such tenderness while still holding rage in his heart because of the racism he faced throughout his life. He could be romantic and pursue women relentlessly, but treat them cruelly after he won them over. He could be extremely generous , but cancel that bounty on a whim.
The documentary explores the musical genius’s six-decade career: from his days as a Juilliard student to developing his signature sound on recordings with his famous quintet, from his collaborations with Gil Evans to his shifts to new musical paradigms. in the 70s and 80s.
As the film follows Davis’ groundbreaking musical triumphs, the twists and turns of his complicated personal life are told with intimate reflections from those closest to him. Never-before-seen footage and a soundtrack full of Davis’ music are complemented by new interviews with friends, fellow musicians, collaborators and scholars to create a comprehensive portrait of the complex man.
In conjunction with the first broadcast of the film. Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings is releasing this month “Miles Davis – Music by and Inspired by Miles Davis: Birth of Coola film by Stanley Nelson.
The “American Masters” series is available to stream simultaneously on all of the station’s branded PBS platforms. Davis’ film is being screened in honor of Black History Month.