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Jackie McLean

John H. Armwood Jazz History Lecture Nashville's Cheekwood Arts Center 1989

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Article: NYFF Review: Don Cheadle Strives to Make a Film That Miles Davis Would Make in 'Miles Ahead'

"A hindrance, as I see it, to the film becoming conclusively impressionistic, and therefore meeting Cheadle's (and thus the audience's) demands, is that the main narrative itself isn't all-that engaging, to be frank. But what held my attention was Cheadle as Davis. It's a captivating enough transformation that I was on board for much of the ride, which Cheadle, wisely, I thought, keeps to a brief 100 minutes. There's a kind of demystification of Davis that happens in the present-day narrative, as compared to the genius that is Davis the musician, that I think even those who aren't familiar with the man and his work, are aware of. Miles Davis. Genius musician. Untouchable. Even superhuman and god-like. He's a legend. So there's almost a reconciling (the man versus the legend) that some may have to do in order to settle into the film - the present-day story giving us "a man," frail, broken, with a cocaine and alcohol habit (the film appropriately doesn't sugarcoat any of this by the way), a shadow of his former self, angry at the world, and maybe even at himself; and the flashbacks in essence, give us "the legend" in his prime," despite some fracturing, who created the many masterpieces we love and are in awe of today.