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Bebop Spoken There

Walter Trout: "I don't know why John Mayall put up with me for so long. But I've been sober for 32 years now, not a beer nor a joint," - (Blues Matters! Aug/Sep 2020)

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11,740 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 17 this month (August 4).

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August

Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Film review: Miles Davis: The Birth of the Cool @ Tyneside Cinema - October 24


(Review by Russell) 

There can be few, if any, jazz musicians who could generate such interest well over a quarter of a century after their death than Miles Dewey Davis. The final screening of a week-long run of Stanley Nelson's documentary film was a sell out just as several other screenings were earlier in the week. Miles Davis: The Birth of the Cool attracted considerable interest and as your correspondent made his way up to the third floor screen met one acquaintance who had seen the film the previous evening and two others who were about to take their seats in the auditorium. 


To begin at the end...as the credits rolled a seemingly interminable list of sources of archive stills hammered home the fact that there had been little in the way of live action. Sharp editing flashed innumerable, largely black and white, images of Davis across the screen, images from his childhood through to the Birth of the Cool period to Kind of Blue and on to the great sixties' quintet and the key date - for some - of 1968/69 when Miles plugged-in and some fans switched-off. 

Advance fears that Davis' words being 'voiced' by Carl Lumbly (spoken in an approximation of the man's famous whisper) would some how be a distraction were allayed. The many talking heads spoke lovingly, some reverentially, Stanley Crouch the one dissenting voice with regard to Miles' electric period. Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, all said their piece, frequently recalling, direct to camera, Miles' fondness for expletives. 

Francis Taylor spoke, often with a tear in her eye, of her years with Miles and, along with others, documented the racism he endured (he would rail against it to his dying day) and the ill health and drug use which dogged the Prince of Darkness. 

At five minutes short of two hours Miles Davis: The Birth of the Cool is, perhaps, half an hour too long. More in concert material with less talk would have been welcome but, that said, anything about Miles Davis adds to the legend.    
Russell 

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