Thursday, 1 December 2016

Miles Ahead.

 Don Cheadle's biographical movie about Miles Davis takes its title from Davis's 1957 album Miles Ahead, an album that was one of the most famous recordings of the music genre known as Third Stream a term coined in 1957 by American composer Gunther Schuller described as "a new genre of music located about halfway between jazz and classical music'. Cheadle stars as Davis in the movie but also directed, produced and co-wrote both the story and screenplay.

Make no mistake the best thing about this movie is the music which is taken from various albums including Kind of Blue, released in 1959 and considered to be the best selling jazz album of all time, its 1960 follow up album Sketches of Spain and the rock influenced Bitches Brew, Davis's first gold record released in 1970.

The timeframe for the movie follows the period 1975 to 1979 when Davis virtually withdrew from public eye during health problems including drug addiction, ulcer related hospitalisation, diagnosis of a hernia and exhaustion. The story depicts the musicians attempts to get his career back on track and his troubled marriage to Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi) the dancer who can be seen on the cover of the Davis album Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), along side some fictional nonsense about a journalist Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) who wants to profile him and recover a lost music tape.

Although an enjoyable movie, mainly down to Cheadle’s performance, to a certain extent it’s a wasted opportunity. As an admirer of Miles Davis work I would have liked the movie to be more of an in depth look at his life and demons and completely dispense with McGregor’s character. But do try to catch the movie on DVD if for no other reason than to listen to some great music.

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