Back in the late ’60s the world was a bit different. You couldn’t just open up your nearest streaming service for the latest Kanye album or Drake singles. If you had enough income for a record player, let alone to purchase vinyl, you’d grab a 12inch of Miles Davis, Charlie Barker, or Duke Ellington, the classic instrumental improvisers of the time. And the making of one of the greatest jazz records to ever bless our ears has been re-appropriated in film form, Miles Ahead, which documents all the trials and tribulations of making Kind of Blue.
There’s been a couple of attempts at a Miles Davis biopic and this one appears to have nailed the authenticity. Don Cheadle plays Davis and is interrupted by Dave Braden (Ewan Macgregor) rocking up to his door probing for a story for Rolling Stone. And from that point you’re walking through the carnage and conflict of what putting together a record entails. I mean, all you have to do is place the trumpet to your lips and knock out some melodies with your band, right? Well not if you’re Miles Davis in the late ’50s.
Miles Ahead includes lots of action, gun toting, theft, fight scenes, musical mishaps, deeply troubled intimacy issues, and stubborn record executives. They all seem to get in the way of Davis making the hits, and the way it’s been shot means it’s as if you’re standing next to him while he endured most of his struggles. Cheadle’s effort as the trumpet king manages to convey an unrivalled authenticity that few could emulate. In all, jazz has never looked this dangerously charismatic and adventurous.
Check out the trailer above
- Words: Eli Marsland