Review: MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL Is A Documentary With Great Rhythm

FIRST IMPRESSION

An entertaining and beautiful portrait of the great musician Miles Davis's career, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool is one of the best music docs of the year.
Directing
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool is a new documentary telling the story of the eponymous master jazz musician. Even though his story has been told on the screen many times before, both in documentary and biopic form, this film manages to be captivating because of the sheer might of Davis’s talent.

There are few names which one would think of before Davis when talking about jazz. Truly one of the world’s greatest musicians in any genre, Davis was known for his beautiful sound and his unique improvisational style. Hearing his life story, especially if you are a fan of his music, is sure to be interesting, if only because of how iconic his career was.

Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t really explore the more personal side of Davis’s life. He was known to have struggles with drug addiction and other such personal issues, but the focus of this film is solely on Davis’s music and career. Although this doesn’t affect the movie’s quality, it does mean that the film may not be able to branch out beyond those who already admire his music.

That said, some of the stories and anecdotes told in the movie are very entertaining and interesting. Perhaps the most intriguing segment of the documentary tells the story of how Davis created the score to the classic film noir Elevator to the Gallows, entirely through improvisation. Moments like these are the ones in which audiences will best understand why Davis was such a legend.

miles davis birth of the cool trumpet

The movie is also quite well-paced. Even though the runtime is nearly two hours, it is understandable given the massive and eventful career which Davis had. There is no shortage of things about which the film could talk, and yet it is still unable to hit everything. As such, the movie never feels slow and is always entertaining.

Of course, Davis’s music is phenomenal, and the film makes great use of it, both actively and passively. There are a few times in which the movie allows Davis and his music to speak for themselves, but for a majority of the film, his wonderful jazz is used to underscore the interviews or archival footage being presented. Every once in a while, the beauty of the music can distract you from the story being told, but that isn’t a bad thing.

On a technical level, this movie is definitely excellent. Director Stanley Nelson is a very talented filmmaker, and he knows how to tell the story in a way that is equal parts compelling and informative. The editing by Lewis Erskine is absolutely phenomenal. The way in which he coordinates the images to Davis’s music is breathtaking. Additionally, Carl Lumbly, the actor who reads Davis’s words, does an excellent job of narrating.

All fans of music, particularly jazz, should move Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool to the top of their watchlist immediately. A well-made and interesting documentary about one of the greatest musicians of all time, this is a film you absolutely will not want to miss.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool hits theaters on August 23.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

The 100 | Season 7 Episode 7 | The Queen’s Gambit Scene | The CW

Stream new episodes of The 100 Thursdays free only on The CW: http://go.cwtv.com/genHNDyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About THE 100: The human race returns, after a 97-year exile in space, to a wildly transformed Earth...only to discover that the human race had never truly left. Clarke found herself forced to lead a band of disposable juvenile delinquents…

An American Pickle | Official Trailer | HBO Max

AN AMERICAN PICKLE, directed by Brandon Trost, is based on Simon Rich’s New Yorker novella and stars Seth Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920 with dreams of building a better life for his beloved family. One day, while working at his factory job, he falls into a vat…

Mrs. America | Inside Look: Shaping the Narrative | FX

With so many stories to tell, how do you choose? The cast and creators explain how they shaped the narrative of Mrs. America. Subscribe now for more Mrs. America clips: http://bit.ly/SubscribeFX Mrs. America recounts the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the unexpected backlash led by Phyllis Schlafly, aka “the sweetheart of…

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark Podcast: Episode 1 | The Sounds of Suburbia | HBO

Nancy Miller sits down with series director Academy Award-nominee and Emmy Award-winner Liz Garbus and director/producer Elizabeth Wolff to talk about the responsibility they felt in doing justice to Michelle McNamara’s work, their own backgrounds and sensitivities they brought to the series and the ways in which Michelle’s work informed the filmmaking process. #HBO #IllBeGoneInTheDark…

Solar Opposites – The Lost Recordings • A Hulu Original

From Justin Roiland, the co-creator of Rick and Morty, and Mike McMahan, comes a series about a family of aliens trying to fit in on this human-infested crap-hole of a planet called Earth. Solar Opposites is now streaming, only on Hulu. SUBSCRIBE TO HULU’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL Click the link to subscribe to our channel for…

Best of Victor • Love, Victor • A Hulu Original

Get to know Victor Salazar. ❤️ All episodes of Love, Victor are now streaming. ABOUT LOVE, VICTOR Set in the world of the 2018 groundbreaking film LOVE, SIMON which was inspired by Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the series follows Victor, a new student at Creekwood High School on his…

All The Good Fight Fashion Easter Eggs From Season 4

The Good Fight Costume Designer Dan Lawson gives the inside scoop on crafting some of the more subtle style details from Diane Lockhart's (Christine Baranski) Season 4 wardrobe. Learn about her latex dominatrix outfit, the tearaway suit her doppelganger Dana (Kirsten Scott) wore, and more. Stream full episodes of The Good Fight exclusively on CBS…

Then & Now: Emma and Lyn | Vida | STARZ

Emma and Lyn will always be sisters para siempre. Binge Seasons 1-3 of #VidaSTARZ now of the #STARZ App. Like Vida on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VidaSTARZ/ Follow Vida on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VIDA_STARZ Follow Vida on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vida_starz/ Like STARZ on Facebook: http://starz.tv/STARZFacebookYT Follow STARZ on Twitter: http://starz.tv/STARZTwitterYT Follow STARZ on Instagram: http://starz.tv/STARZInstagramYT Visit STARZ on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1mkHKgZ Vida…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here