More than a year after its debut at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and a brief theatrical run, the documentary Miles Davis: The Birth of the Cool will debut next week as part of PBS’ American Masters series.
PBS has shared the official trailer for the film, which focuses on the life and legacy of the jazz legend.
Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Flea, the Roots, Wayne Shorter, and others are among Davis’ admirers and collaborators who appear in the Stanley Nelson-directed documentary, which premieres Tuesday, February 25th.
“A lot of the old guys thought that if you went to school, it would make you play like you were white. If you learned something from theory, you would lose the feeling in your playing,” Davis says in a voice-over in the trailer. “I wanted to see what was going on in all of music. If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change.”
Following its Sundance 2019 debut, Rolling Stone said of the film: “You do get it all: meeting Bird and Dizzy Gillespie when Davis was 18; hooking up with Gil Evans, Paris, Columbia Records, Kind of Blue, the Sixties quintet, the fusion years, the lost years, and dark moods of his post-Dark Magus period, and his final victory lap. Talking heads like Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter attest to the genius; his first wife, Frances Taylor Davis (who passed away In November 2018), attests to the fact that he was violent, volatile, jealous, possessive to a fault, especially when drugs were in the picture; a raspy-voiced narrator reading snippets from Davis’ autobiography fills in the rest. Consider this a nice Miles 101 primer if you’re unfamiliar with a singular body of work, and a chance to see clips of the man in action, from be-bop to Doo-Bop.”
In addition to the trailer, American Masters also shared a two-minute clip from the documentary: