American Masters


"We Don't Sugarcoat Anything" in this "Definitive" Doc

The Miles Davis Estate offered unprecedented access to its archive in order to help make this film the "definitive" documentary on Miles Davis, according to Davis's relatives.

AIRED: February 25, 2020 | 0:02:00

- Once again, the Miles Davis Quintet, here it is.

(audience clapping) (upbeat jazz music)

- We set out to tell Miles' story,

to tell the biography of Miles.

But also to tell a biography that had a lot of music.

To let the audience hear the music.

- Miles Davis' estate opened its doors, and its drawers,

and it closets, and its archives.

And there's material here, home movies, artwork, photos,

that really haven't been seen.

- It's the definitive documentary.

We don't sugarcoat anything, you know.

It's the good, and the bad.

- This film is an intricate look at his life,

and the time he came up through.

- Miles didn't have to please anybody but Miles.

- He was angry, antisocial.

But often times those insecurities, and those demons,

are the very things that are the basis of art.

So that art becomes a way of healing.

- One of the things that drove us on the film,

was how did such, kind of this rough person,

this abusive person,

make some of the most beautiful music ever?

(gentle jazz music)

- Miles put the bell of his horn right into the microphone.

And changed the whole world of jazz, right there.

- [Stanley] One of the things we wanted to show in this film

is how Miles worked with other musicians.

- What he was doing, I found out,

was that he was encouraging you to dig deep,

and find stuff on your own.

(inspiring jazz music)

- He epitomizes cool.

The audience will feel cool.

It's as though you know Miles,

as though you're in his inner circle.

And he was so cool, that it kind of rubs off.

(graphics whooshing)


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