Docs

Stanley Nelson to direct Miles Davis feature doc

Lifetime Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson is set to helm a feature-length documentary on the late and seminal jazz trumpeter, bandleader and composer Miles Davis. Produced by Eagle Rock Entertainment, Firelight Media and ...
July 20, 2018

Lifetime Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson is set to helm a feature-length documentary on the late and seminal jazz trumpeter, bandleader and composer Miles Davis.

Produced by Eagle Rock Entertainment, Firelight Media and American Masters Pictures, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (w/t) will delve deep into the life and career of the musical giant. With the full cooperation of the Miles Davis Estate, the film will feature never-before-seen archive, studio outtakes from recording sessions, rare photos and new interviews with the likes of Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Clive Davis, Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter, among others.

Among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz, eight-time Grammy winner Davis adopted a variety of musical styles in a career that spanned across five decades, led many of the key developments in the world of jazz, and made him one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.

The first of Davis’ radical revisions of jazz came in the form of the compilation album Birth of the Cool (1957), which compiled 11 tracks recorded by Davis’s nonet for Capitol Records over the course of three recording sessions between 1949 and 1950. The album was followed the 1957 release of Walkin’ for Prestige Records, which ushered in the hard-bop era, a current within jazz that incorporated influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool is expected to be completed by Q4 of 2018, with a festival and limited theatrical release planned in early 2019.

The film will subsequently enjoy its exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere across the long-standing PBS documentary strand ‘American Masters’, while BBC2 will screen the film next year exclusively for UK broadcast.

Most recently, Nelson directed Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, the Emmy Award-nominated documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and four-time Emmy Award-winning documentary Freedom Riders. In 2016, he was honored with a Lifetime Peabody Award, a Lifetime Emmy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association. He is a 2014 National Humanities Medalist, multiple Emmy Award winner, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“Miles was a man apart – in life, in love, in music – a singular artist who never looked back and who changed everything we thought we knew about jazz, about music, about life, several times over in his career,” said Nelson in a statement. “With this film, I hope to unpack the mythology that surrounds Mr. Davis and present a definitive account of the man behind the legend.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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