Arguably, no single artist has changed the face of modern music so profoundly, and so many times, as Miles Davis. As Charlie "Yardbird" Parker was busy revolutionizing the jazz world with his stripped-down, freewheeling style called Bop, he invited the young Davis to join him in the mid-1940s. Miles played with Bird for three years before going on to wage his own Cool Jazz revolution, fronting a nine-piece ensemble and creating lush, orchestral arrangements for Birth of the Cool. Due to drug addiction, a fallow period ensued in the early '50s, but Davis returned to the fore with renewed vigor and a new quintet in 1954. The Miles Davis Quintet, including John Coltrane on tenor sax, set new standards for what jazz could represent, achieving a popularity previously thought unattainable in the eclectic realm of jazz. Further milestones lay ahead for Davis -- his groundbreaking orchestral work with his musical soul mate Gil Evans, the recording of the most popular jazz album ever (Kind of Blue), further endeavors with another pivotal quintet in the '60s and finally, the fathering of the Free Improvisation and Funk-tinged riffs and grooves of the Fusion age with Bitches Brew. Through it ... See More
Miles Davis Concert Films
Live in Munich
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minFor more than 50 years, trumpeter/bandleader Miles Davis was a major innovator of cool, modal, avant-garde, and fusion jazz styles. This program captures Davis's band: alto saxophonist/flutist Kenny Garrett, Keyboardists Robert Irving III and Adam Holzmann, lead bassist Joseph "Foley" McCreary, and bassist Benjamin Rietveld, percussionist Marilyn Mazur, and drummer Ricky Wellman, live in Munich, Germany on July 10th, 1988. With these musicians' sympathetic and syncopated support, Davis's trademarked Harmon-muted trumpet tones dance and trance over the combo's supple electric swing. Throughout the concert, Davis glides across the stage with the elegance and power of a dancer and a fighter, huddling with his sidemen to play and share a phrase. Interview snippets with Davis feature the trumpeter frankly discussing his other passion, artwork. All told, Miles in Munich shows that the man called "Prince of Darkness" was full of artistic light near the end of his creative life.
Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue
Runtime: 1 hr 27 minWhen he released "Bitches Brew" in 1970, Miles Davis opened up a new angle to jazz which stirred up emotions like no other record before. Some critics accused Davis of selling out, while the public bought it like crazy. It is one of the most examined albums of all time, even garnering a box set of the sessions. To date, "Bitches Brew" is one of the top selling jazz albums of all time. "Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue" examines the next step in the creative process...performing these songs live. The 1970 Isle of Wight featured an array of performers from The Who to Jethro Tull to Joni Mitchell. With improvisation playing a big role in the performance, the band (Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Gary Bartz and Dave Holland) had to be "on", yet ready to change on the fly. Directed by award-winning producer Murray Lerner, "Miles Electric" sits down with several of the performers who played with Miles, interspersed with his 1970 Isle of Wight performance, as well as artists such as Carlos Santana and Joni Mitchell, who describe the impact Miles Davis had towards music.
The Miles Davis Story
Runtime: 2 hr 4 minTrumpeter-bandleader Miles Davis (1926-91) was a catalyst for the major innovations in post-bop, cool jazz, hard-bop, and jazz-fusion, and his wispy and emotional trumpet tones were some of the most evocative sounds ever heard. He was also one of the most identifiable and misunderstood pop icons of the 20th century. This engrossing British documentary shows the complex layers of this magnificent and mercurial artist. Through rare footage and interviews, we learn of Davis's middle-class upbringing and his early days with bop legends Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. The documentary bluntly deals with Davis's narcotic nadir and his rise from the depths to become a bona fide jazz icon in the mid-'50s to late '60s. But the most penetrating and poignant portraits of Davis come from musicians who played with and were influenced by him, including Shirley Horn, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, and Keith Jarrett.
Miles Davis Top Tracks
Runtime: 52 minThe Jazz Sessions spotlights Andrew Hill, a great and even groundbreaking composer and pianist. While many of his contemporaries were totally jettisoning the rhythmic and harmonic techniques of bop and hard bop, Hill worked to extend their possibilities; his was a revolution from within. He exhibited a determined command of his materials, however abstract they might sometimes be. His composed melodies were labyrinthine, rhythmically and harmonically complex tunes that exhibit a sophistication born of mastery, not chance or contingency.
Alto Saxophone Jazz Solos
Runtime: 50 minOne of the most individual of all alto saxophone players, the cool-toned LEE KONITZ has always had a strong musical curiosity that has led him to consistently take chances and stretch himself, usually quite successfully. The Jazz Sessions spotlights unaccompanied performances by some of the legends and bright young stars of the jazz world. Designed and recorded specifically for television, SOLOS offers viewers front row seats for an intimate and unique jazz experience. Each program features complete musical pieces, insightful interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage. Shot in stunning HDTV with multiple moving cameras and a medley of elegant cinematic lighting, SOLOS showcases an exciting and dynamic variety of jazz styles - from the blues and boogie-woogie to bebop and the experimental.
Runtime: 1 hr 57 minCongo Square is a musical tribute to New Orleans composed and performed by Wynton Marsalis, trumpet master from New Orleans and Yacub Addy, an African master drumer -- a unique collaboration where a Lincoln Center's great jazz orchestra mingles with an African percussion ensemble in a 2 hour concert of original music filmed at the 2007 Montreal Jazz Festival.
Let's Get Lost
Runtime: 1 hr 60 min"Let's Get Lost" is an American documentary film about the turbulent life and career of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker written and directed by Bruce Weber. The title is derived from a song by Jimmy McHugh and Frank Loesser from the 1943 film Happy Go Lucky which Baker recorded for Pacific Records. A group of Baker fans, ranging from ex-associates to ex-wives and children, talk about the man. Weber’s film traces the man’s career from the 1950s, playing with jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, and Russ Freeman, to the 1980s, when his heroin addiction and domestic indifference kept him in Europe.
Notes from a Jazz Survivor
Runtime: 49 minAn intensely personal and sometimes painful look into the fascinating world of Art Pepper. One of Jazz' greatest alto saxophonists and most expressive soloists, Pepper was also a thief, drug addict, alcoholic, womanizer, and world renown wildman. In candid interviews he recounts his triumphs, troubles, and luck in meeting Laurie, his last wife. For half the film Pepper leads a trio in a Malibu nightclub, the set includes: "Red Car", "Patricia", and "Miss Who?".
Live at Montreux - 1974
Runtime: 51 minFormed by John McLaughlin in 1971, the Mahavishnu Orchestra pioneered the fusion of jazz elements into rock music while still undeniably retaining the power and muscle of a full on rock band. With McLaughlin as the ever-present, the line-up went through various phases and these two concerts from Montreux showcase the band at distinctively different times of their career, with the seventies show featuring later stars Jean-Luc Ponty and Michael Walden and the eighties concert featuring saxophone maestro Bill Evans.
Live at Montreux 1996
Runtime: 56 minWayne Shorter is one of the most significant jazz performers of modern times. He performed as part of Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers and then Miles Davis band in the sixties before co-founding Weather Report with Joe Zawinul in the early seventies. This Montreux concert from 1996 features the Wayne Shorter Quintet and followed on from the release of his Grammy Award winning album High Life.
Triumph of the Underdog
Runtime: 1 hr 18 minDon McGlynn's uncompromising and soulful documentary look at the tumultuous life of musician and rebel Charles Mingus is simply fascinating. Mingus said of himself "I am half black man, half yellow man, but I claim to be a Negro. I am Charles Mingus, the famed jazz musician--but not famed enough to make a living in America." His statement summed up the conflict that plagued this musical genius his entire life: volatility, pain, prescience, and raw rage roiled inside a complex man, composer, bass player, and trombonist who transcended labels and refused to be pigeonholed into a single musical style--and who did not achieve real fame until late in his career. The documentary is full of well-preserved footage and contains interviews with many Mingus followers like Wynton Marsalis as well as performances by icons Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerry Mulligan. The film traverses past the musical legend with insight and information into Mingus's personal life, his civil rights activism, and his final triumph in the music world--just as his body began to deteriorate from Lou Gehrig's disease--to his eventual death in 1979. Mingus left a legacy composed of genius, vulnerability, brilliance, anarchy, and, as one friend noted, "the entire range of human emotion that is reflected in his music.
Legends in Concert
Runtime: 43 minJazz Legends - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (1929-1943) by Duke Ellington, includes a series of short films made in Hollywood featuring Ellington performing his biggest hits: Black And Tan (1929) directed by Dudley Murphy; Check and Double Check (1930) directed by Melville Brown; Symphony in Black (1934) directed by Fred Waller; Paramount Pictoral No.889 (1937); The Hit Parade of 1937; and RKO Jamboree No.7 (1943) directed by Jay Bonafield. .