Full Trailer | Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Discover the man behind the legend. With full access to the Miles Davis Estate, the film features never-before-seen footage, including studio outtakes from his recording sessions, rare photos and new interviews. American Masters Presents Stanley Nelson’s Grammy-nominated Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool February 25 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS in Honor of Black History Month.
- [Miles] Music has always
been like a curse with me.
It's the first thing in my life.
Go to bed thinking about it,
and wake up thinking about it.
That's all I live for.
- [Narrator] Miles started very early.
- He looked at things differently.
He saw things differently.
Without a doubt,
the most unique person I've ever known.
- He wanted to be an artist,
just like Stravinsky.
- [Miles] A lot of the old guys thought
that if you went to school,
it would make you play
like you were white.
If you learn something from theory,
you would loose the feeling in your playing.
I wanted to see what
was going on in all of music.
- [Man In Black cap] Julliard in the daytime,
and at night,
he'd be on 52nd Street.
- He put the bell of his horn,
right into the microphone,
and changed the whole world of jazz, right there.
- [Woman With Brown shirt] He comes
out with a style that
is truly reflective of who he is.
He was angry, antisocial.
- But then he starts playing,
and people are like,
oh, he just disarms you.
- [Woman With Purple Scarf] He surrounded
himself with young,
emerging, unknown voices.
- [Man With Bow tie] We were kids,
we were looking having it gone to a laboratory.
Miles is a head chemist.
- He wanted us to live on the stage,
creating in front of the people.
Don't lean on what you know.
What he was looking for
is the stuff that you don't know.
- [Man With Purple shirt] We didn't just
want to play with Miles Davis,
we wanted to be Miles Davis.
- [Man With Dred-locks] Miles' audience
was changing, absorbing what was happening now.
- [Miles] If anybody wants to keep creating,
they have to be about change.
I lost my sense
of discipline and started to drift.
Before I knew it I had a heroin habit.
- [Woman With Purple scarf] Miles becomes
representative of kind of cool,
kind of sophistication, a kind of masculinity.
Miles and Francis.
- I mean, we were a hot couple.
- The elevator opened and there he was.
It was like in a movie when you meet
the vampire, and you know your gonna die
and you don't care.
- [Woman In Purple Scarf] He becomes
our black superman.
- [Miles] All I ever wanted to do was
communicate what I feel through music.