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Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

Stanley Nelson

A visionary, innovator and originator who defied categorisation and embodied the word cool: this new documentary is a foray into the life and career of musical and cultural icon Miles Davis.

"An incisive insight into our understanding of the legendary musician..."

Using words from Davis' autobiography, it offers an incisive insight into our understanding of the legendary musician. Newly-released archival material, alongside interviews with pre-eminent historians and personal friends like Quincy Jones, illustrate a man of intensity and devotion to his craft. Despite the indignities of America during the time of segregation, nothing was going to stop Davis from realising his dream: to create a new form of musical expression. Davis worked like a physicist with his collaborators to push musical experimentation and widen the tones and lyricism of jazz – the effects of which are felt to this day.

Delving into his past loves, personal relationships and addictions, a clearer portrait of Davis the man emerges. Davis is fearless and engaging throughout, and his intellectual fervour is only tempered by his insecurities. Director Stanley Nelson’s epic biopic collects the strands of a creative life and weaves them together for us to understand one of the great modern American artists like never before.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool is screening in association with Dundee Jazz Festival, Dundee’s annual jazz and blues celebration taking place 30 Oct – 3 November 2019. Check out the full programme of exciting events at