There seems to be quite a stir surrounding the first Miles Davis biopic, Miles Ahead, which recently sought its debut at the trumpeted 53rd New York Film Festival. According to an article published on Consequence of Sound, a press release was mailed to many media outlets from its distributor Sony Picture Classics, and it referred to the musical genius as an “iconic singer,” simply and incorrectly. The Chicago-based online publication reported on this mishap with the following opening paragraph:
“Sony Pictures Classic has acquired Miles Ahead, the Don Cheadle-starring biopic about “iconic singer” Miles Davis. No, the forthcoming film is not about another famous Miles Davis, nor does it imagine the musician in some alternative universe where he traded in his trumpet for the ability to sing. Nope, the truth is, Sony just has no idea who Miles Davis actually was.”
Since, the error has been corrected and it now reads “iconic musician” but many are still wondering how Sony (or its subsidiary) could make such a planetary mistake. In verity, the independent art-house did get this right:
“What Don Cheadle has done here with the spirit of Miles Davis is truly astounding. We are not only witnessing for the first time this part of Miles Davis’ story as it deserves to be told but also the birth of a major film director who happens to portray the iconic singer in a jaw-dropping performance, states the original press release.”
Yes, Miles Davis was a multi-instrumentalist who played the piano, organ, synthesizer, flugelhorn, which is a beautiful brass instrument that can be counted as the first cousin of the trumpet, having similar characteristics but a wider interior chamber, and of course, the trumpet. The trumpet is the instrument the fearless revolutionary musician is best known for. He was also known as a bandleader and composer. Aside from the many instruments he played, the Alton, Illinois-born musical maven was an influential figure in the 20th century, popularizing and efficaciously creating the infectious sounds we’ve all admired and used as a source of entertainment for several decades. Those genres include but are not limited to many styles and subgenres of Jazz (Bebop or Bop, Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, Modal Jazz and Jazz Fusion) and Hip-Hop. Yes, Hip-Hop.
“Miles Ahead” is a Don Cheadle feature film directorial debut detailing the wondrous life and times of the late, great “social music” that highlights his musical career, including temporary retirement and return to the industry in 1979. Reportedly, “Miles Ahead” will close out the evening at the New York Film Festival at the New York Film Festival on October 11, 2015. Cheadle is also credited as a writer and producer of the film.
Cheadle on the Film Society’s honor:
“I am happy that the selection committee saw fit to invite us to the dance. It’s very gratifying that all the hard work that went into the making of this film, from every person on the team, has brought us here. Miles’ music is all-encompassing, forward-leaning, and expansive. He changed the game time after time, and New York is really where it all took off for him. Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center… feels very ‘right place, right time.’ Very exciting.”
The New York Film Festival will start on the September 25 and carry on until the October 11. Cheadle’s film also stars Emayatzy Corinealdi, an actress of Panamanian and Italian descent best known for her role in Ava DuVernay’s 2012 independent feature film, “Middle of Nowhere” and Ewan McGregor, a Scottish actor best known for his role in “Trainspotting,” a 1996 British dark comedy drama. Corinealdi will portray Mr. Davis’ former wife, Frances Taylor, and McGregor will portray a Rolling Stones writer whom he conspires with to steal back his music. “Miles Ahead” is expected to receive its premiere during the 53rd annual New York Film Festival in October.
Near and dear to his heart, in the short documentary below, Cheadle shares that Herbie Hancock and Robert Glasper have been involved and that its soundtrack will possibly feature the likes of JAY Z, Skrillex, Kendrick Lamar and Nas. “The possibilities are endless,” he states. Watch the short promotional documentary to learn about how the biopic came to be and its importance: