Hardbopjazz

Miles Davis on American Masters.

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Did anyone watch the Miles Davis episode on American Masters? I enjoyed it a lot. If you didn't catch it, check your PBS station for when it will be airing. 

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9 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

Or watch online. https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/miles-davis-birth-of-the-cool-rfotn2/13497/

It's hard to believe they're just now getting around to Miles. They've done some pretty obscure "masters" in the past.

Thanks so much—didn’t realize this was going to be available online at all. (Looks like it will be up through late March.)

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I saw the NY premiere at Film Forum.  Will watch again

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Any idea what the timeline is on doing Roscoe and/or Threadgill and/or Braxton? Surely there's something in the works!

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There was a brief interview with Gil Evans that I've never seen before.  I  wonder how long the whole thing is and what its provenance is. 

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Thanks very much, guys, for letting us know about this and posting a link.

I watched it pretty much straightaway.

It is very well done, and contains material that most people have not seen before. It avoids the usual pitfalls of biographies. To those who had a part in it: A hearty "well done".

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Agreed. It was better than I expected. Really enjoyed the extensive commentary by Francis. Really opened up some understanding about what a complicated person he was (especially when fueled by drugs and alcohol). 

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Saw it in a "real" theater several months ago. Enjoyed it.

Favorite quote - "you knew you were going to die, but you didn't care".

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I was dissappointed they censored the language, the PBS stream was the first I saw the film since the NY premiere and the review I wrote.

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I liked the fact that they included Stanley Crouch's opinion of the Bitches Brew period. It was very negative. Too bad SC doesn't think whitey has anything to offer jazz; otherwise I agree with him on a lot of things about jazz.

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True but it adds so much to the charm lol

 

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I’ve watched part of it but haven’t finished it yet. Pretty good so far. 

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I like that the documentary gives ample space to Miles' 70's and 80's output. Frances Davis was perhaps given too much time (making sure, more than once, to talk about her legs). It would've been nice to hear from Chick Corea and Dave Holland, or even Keith Jarrett — but I guess that's another documentary. And no interview clips with Tony Williams? Surely some exist.

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These kind of structures piss me off when the visual chronologies go back and forth and back and forth and they act like they don't. Maybe that's just me, but nevertheless they do.

I'm like Joe - where did that Gil interview come from, and what else is there?

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Finally got around to watching all of this--excellent documentary, did a great job of traveling a PBS-general-audience track without distorting the history.  I thought the use of Carl Lumbly to read text from Miles' autobiography also worked quite well.  Loved Greg Tate's description of Miles' early-1970s sound as "cosmic jungle music."  The telling of the Birdland beating incident, a story with which I'm certainly familiar, was still upsetting.  Overall I came away with a richer sense of Davis' humanity, always so evident in his playing, of course--but the film helped clear away some of the mystique.  Stanley Nelson was a superlative choice to helm this project.  (And yeah, agree with Late that I could have done with a little less of Frances talking about how great her legs were... but a small price to pay for such a vivid depiction of Miles.)  

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I liked the show but the pedant in me wants to point out that there were some factual errors (sometimes of omission) e.g.  Francis had already been on the cover of the Black Hawk Lps when Someday My Prince was released, and they completely ignored In A Silent Way in order to make it seem that Bitch's Brew was the first electric record. 

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I just find it disorienting as fuck when there's a discussion about Tutu and all of a sudden here's a clip of Miles and Bill Evans playing Jean Pierre, or there's a discussion about Kind Of Blue and up pops a still of a concert with Bobby Jaspar, or they're talking about how Miles made this new music called The Birth Of The Cool, which is not unlike saying that Jesus was a Christian.

Considering the intended audience, none of this probably matters, but on the other hand, if it doesn't matter, why not just get it right. Can it be that hard? Surely not.

And cumulatively, for the society at large, this sort of thing is one more nail in the coffin of general historical chronological awareness/sensitivity, of people thinking that anything other than that "then" was just one big time and place where everything happened all at one once. Yet another way we are being conditioned to be disoriented as a fact of life.

I liked the movie, it was fun. But lots of things are fun.

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Totally agreed. This sort of inaccuracies in these documentaries happens too often. And you are spot on that getting it right cannot be that much harder.

I'd just cut them a bit of slack with the mismatch of text and images: A lot of these mismatches no doubt IS sloppiness or carelessness but could it be that they did not have any good images or footage to go EXACTLY with what they were talking about at that very moment?

I also wonder (though I do not know abouot the legal side) if maybe in some cases copyright reasons have an impact on the use of certain images, e.g. if the estates of the photographers want BIG money for the use of one of their stills for a couple of seconds?

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22 minutes ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I'd just cut them a bit of slack with the mismatch of text and images: A lot of these mismatches no doubt IS sloppiness or carelessness but could it be that they did not have any good images or footage to go EXACTLY with what they were talking about at that very moment?

Can't buy that. If you don't have what is correct, go with something else that is, like a talking head, a book cover, or a picture of an animal or something. It's just sloppy, imo, to not get it right some way. A lack of imagination and/or awareness of available resources.

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Yes, lack of imagination and/or background knowledge (including - as you say - awareness of avilable resources). The slack I'd cut them is because this overall is one of the not sooo huge problems with visualizing the text of such documentaries. And haven't those hacks compiling the accompanying material for music documentaries been shown by the music industry itself that it all doesn't matter THAT much? As you may have noticed one of my pet peeves is the total mismatch between the date/era of the photo of the featured artist on the cover and the recording period of the music on the disc. The 70s/80s were bad in this way but even some recent reissues blundered badly in that respect.
OTOH, look at how often it hapens in documentaries that they talk about some event that happened in the 30s or war years and then you see some coarse-grained "moving images" with Tin Lizzies cajoling through the streets. This is something I personally find even more aggravating. And no, when they talk about 40s amateur nights at the Apollo I do NOT want to see a pic of the outside of the Apollo with loads of garish, angular 70s US hulks of iron parked at the curb! Ruins the visual impact ... :P. Same complaint like yours, just different accents ...;)) And so on and so on ...
But like you said, considering the intended audience this probably doesn't matter - except to history detail-minded geeks like they are around here. ^_^

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On 3/2/2020 at 6:28 PM, JSngry said:

- where did that Gil interview come from, and what else is there?

I recall that footage in a late eighties PBS doc on Miles-which had, besides more Gil Evans, Keith Jarrett and other musicians.

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48 minutes ago, Jim Duckworth said:

I recall that footage in a late eighties PBS doc on Miles-which had, besides more Gil Evans, Keith Jarrett and other musicians.

This one, from 1986?

Miles Ahead: The Music Of Miles Davis

... looks interesting as well.  Thanks for the tip!

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2 hours ago, Jim Duckworth said:

I recall that footage in a late eighties PBS doc on Miles-which had, besides more Gil Evans, Keith Jarrett and other musicians.

I don't recall the Gil Footage specifically, but I do remember the show. Jarret talked a lot!

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I don't recall the Gil Footage specifically, but I do remember the show. Jarret talked a lot!

One Jarrett quote from that show stuck with me (closest wording I can recall): Miles would rather be in a horrible band, playing terrible music, than do something he had already done before.

Edited by T.D.

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1 hour ago, T.D. said:

One Jarrett quote from that show stuck with me (closest wording I can recall): Miles would rather be in a horrible band, playing terrible music, than do something he had already done before.

And that strikes me as classic Jarrett mumbo-jumbo. Sounds great, but really? When did Miles ever have a "bad band playing terrible music" that he didn't get busy making better ASAP?

Sounds like Keith was (is?) still working through his own seemingly quite enthusiastic contributions to a Miles band or two that totally flew in the face of the principles that Jarrett later loudly proclaimed to be sacred.

Fuck it Keith, you were in an electric band playing electric music and you played the shit out of it, and sounded like you were having at least some fun doing so,

Own it, man!

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