American Masters


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.

AIRED: February 25, 2020 | 0:02:24

- [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.

(jazz music)

- [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.

(jazz music)

- [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.

(jazz music)

- [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.

(jazz music)


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