Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (Marquee Presentation: Stanley Nelson)
Country: UK, USA
Running Time: 115min
Film Year: 2019
Category: Marquee Series, Documentary Achievement Award
Jazz trumpet player and composer Miles Davis was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th Century. Starting with his 1957 breakthrough album Birth of the Cool, he never stopped innovating all the way until his death in 1991. This wide-ranging biography maintains an admirable balance in probing his artistic highs and his personal lows. Filmmaker Stanley Nelson has a long track record of documenting African-American history, including his major work The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution that demonstrated his ability to navigate highly contested and complicated subject matter.
Nelson puts those skills to great use, covering Davis’ recording career along with his marriages and struggles with addiction that included a five year hiatus from performing. Nelson interviews friends and colleagues close to Davis as well as writers who eloquently put him in a historical context. The rich archival footage and careful selection of Davis’s music will deepen your appreciation whether you’re an old fan or a newcomer.
Director: Stanley Nelson
Producer: Stanley Nelson, Nicole London
Executive Producer: Terry Shand, Geoff Kempin, Michael Kantor
Production Company: Firelight Films, Inc.
Editor: Lewis Erskine