When Don Cheadle and Vince Wilburn, Jr., Miles Davis’s nephew, set out to capture Miles’s life on film, they had to figure out a “non-corny” way to do it. It had to be a film that Davis would have wanted to be associated with – not a traditional biopic. And they had to get the music right. Which meant that Cheadle, already a competent jazz sax player, had to learn to play the trumpet well enough to play actual Davis solos. The score used a mix of original Davis recordings (Cheadle is playing along, but you hear Miles), and original music composed by Robert Glasper, featuring the gifted young trumpeter Keyon Harrold. For the DownBeat cover story, I had extensive conversations with Cheadle, Wilburn, Herbie Hancock, Miles’s first wife Frances Taylor Davis, Glasper, and Harrold. I loved the film, and I think I’m in good company (see Manohla Dargis’s review in the New York Times). I’d love to know what you think. You can read it here.
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