Miles Davis, right on trumpet, Richard Davis, replaced Ron Carter on that dates on bass, and Herbie Hancock, on piano, performing at the Oriental Theater near Portland State College May 21,1966 Portland, OR.
© David Hume Kennerly
The highlight of that performance will be the world premiere of ‘Simply Miles, Simply Us,’ a tribute to Miles Davis.
The dance was co-commissioned by Wharton Center and the Auditorium Theatre of Chicago (where it will have its second performance April 16) and by the National Endowment for the Arts. ‘Simply Miles, Simply Us’ celebrates what would have been Davis’ 85th birthday. (He died in 1991.)
“I always knew about Davis and knew his music, but I did not know it well,” said Frank Chaves, artistic director of River North Chicago Dance Company. “I played all the way through my first year at the university.
“At the time, I wasn’t especially enthusiastic about Miles Davis. His is somewhat difficult music. You have to listen to it quite a bit. But since working on it, I’ve seen it in a whole new light. Each note is like a spoken word. Hopefully I’ve gotten all that in my movement.”
The Wharton Center for Performing Arts is located in East Lansing, Michigan on the campus of Michigan State University.
I really don’t know what to write. Michael Stadtlender’s latest poster designs for the Miles Davis Biopic need no commentary from me. His trio of designs are just about perfect. I love all three. One has a very distinct Saul Bass style, which I love, but really I am enamored with all three.
Stadtlender’s latest set of unofficial poster teasers follows last week’s debut of four posters; what’s nice is the change of pace in design style between the two sets of posters.
Just goes to show how a talented designer like Stadtlender can take the visual concept of a poster trumpeting the arrival of a biopic about Miles Davis in so many exciting directions. If I’m Don Cheadle I’m taking notes. Whoever ends up picking up the rights to the film (one day), they should consider a contest to let designers present a movie poster. Personally, the more creative involvement from fans the better to help promote the film.
We’re two, probably three years off from the film arriving in theaters, yet already we have an outstanding collection of Miles Davis Biopic posters, from some truly talented designers, that I would happily put in a frame and hang in my office.
© Michael Stadtlender
(pt. 10 in a series)
Title: Photo of Miles Davis
Date created: 01 Jan 1950
This is why I love Miles Davis. This is why I love producing this website. This is why I love knowing that among the people all over the world who also love Miles Davis – some of them are supremely talented artists!
Earlier this year our talented friend Julien Trédan-Turini designed an awesome teaser poster for the Miles Davis Biopic. And then the accomplished graphic designer Heath Killen joined the party and delivered a kick-ass design of his own for a teaser poster.
And now we get to the talented graphic designer Michael Stadtlender who designed four – FOUR! – sensational unofficial teaser posters. I want all four right this second! I love each one, but I think the poster with the artwork from ‘Round About Midnight is my favorite.
The folks in charge of marketing and advertising and whatever else for the biopic should call on all three of these artists because what they’ve created are fantastic examples of movie posters that generate instant excitement about a forthcoming movie. Sure, the Miles Davis Biopic is not likely to arrive in theaters until 2014, if not later, but this new set of posters from Stadtlender, along with the previous two, have me more than ready to enjoy a film about Miles Davis.
© Michael Stadtlender
New Orleans writer, filmmaker and educator Kalamu ya Salaam recently penned an outstanding short story about Miles Davis — with audio.
A moderator for neo•griot, an information blog for black writers, as well as Breath of Life, a black music website, Kalamu was very kind to allow me to re-post the complete short story. There’s a great deal of excellent poetry and short stories on WordUp, the site where Kalamu posts his creative work. It’s definitely worth a visit. The Clifford Brown Short Story is another jazz-themed favorite of mine.
To experience the full impact of the Miles Davis short story please listen to the audio version, which features Kenneth D. Ferdinand on the trumpet.
Greta Garbo is credited with saying “I want to be alone.” Except I’m sure by “alone” she meant: away from you lames. I want to be where I can be me and this place is not it. Then she would blow some smoke, or pick her fingernails, or do something else nonchalantly to indicate her total boredom with the scene. Miles on the other hand never had to say it. He made a career of being alone and sending back notes from the other world, notes as piercing as his eyeballs dismissing a fan who was trying to tell him how pretty he played.
Here this man was: Miles Dewey Davis, a self made motherfucker, a total terror whose only evident tenderness is the limp in his smashed-up hip walk, like he can’t stand touching the ground, the cement, the wooden floor, plush carpet, whatever he is walking on. This man who, considering all the abuse he has dished out to others as well as all the self abuse he has creatively consumed, this man who should have died a long, long time ago but who outlived a bunch of other people who tried to clean up their act. This pact with the devil incarnate. This choir boy from hell. This disaster whose only value is music, a value which is invaluable. If he hadn’t given us his music there would have been no earthly reason to put up with Miles, but he gave on the stage and at the studio, he gave. If there is any redemption he deserves it.
As for me, I admit I don’t have the music, but so what? Perhaps in time you will understand that I really don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be loved or to love. I…
Perhaps you will understand that once you don’t care, nothing else matters. I don’t need a reason why to hit you. Why I’m letting you pack and split without a word from me, without any “I’m sorry,” or anything else that might indicate remorse or even just second thoughts about what I’ve done. Instead, I’m cool.
Just like Miles could climb on a stage after beating some broad in the mouth, I cross from the bedroom where I knocked you to the floor and go into the living room and put “Round Midnight” on. The unignorable sound of Miles chills the room. I stand cool. Listening with a drink of scotch in my hand, and a deadness in the center of me. Anesthetized emotions.
As you leave you look at me. Your eyes are crying “why, why, why do you treat me so badly?” I do not drop my gaze. I just look at you. Miles is playing his hip tortured shit. You will probably hate Miles all the rest of your life.
You linger at the door and ask me do I have anything I want to say. I take a sip nonchalantly, and with the studied unhurried motion of a journeyman hipster, I half smile and drop my words out of the corner of my mouth, “Yeah, I want to be alone. Thanks for leaving.”
And I turn my back on you, trying my best to be like Miles: a motherfucker.
—kalamu ya salaam
Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts (formerly Orange County Performing Arts Center) will play host to The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959 – A Collaboration with Blue Note Records, a musical event that pays tribute to Miles Davis with live performance, archival images, film and recordings.
The multimedia experience traces Miles’ most notable tracks from 1949 through his Blue Note years, culminating in his masterpiece Kind of Blue.
The event is set for October 21st and 22nd later this year.
It’s a stretch. I grant you that. But we’re still so far out on any significant movement for the Miles Davis Movie, a little conjecture is what keeps me going.
Alex Haley’s ‘candid conversation with the jazz world’s premier iconoclast’ in the September 1962 issue was the first Playboy Interview (Volume 9, Number 9) and the conversation is both candid and enlightening – which you’d expect from Miles Davis anyway.
There are also some great quotes:
“I don’t pay no attention to what critics say about me, the good or the bad. The toughest critic I got is myself…and I’m too vain to play anything I think is bad.”
“I don’t dig people in clubs who don’t pay the musicians respect. You ever see anybody bugging the classical musicians when they are on the job and trying to work?”
And just to prove how ‘cool’ Playboy was back in the day, some of the folks interviewed in the months after the Miles conversation included Peter Sellers, Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra and Malcolm X.
Could the ‘interview’ be a throwaway moment in the film, maybe a scene with him and Alex Haley talking? Did the interview cause any controversy in the media, with fans, etc? Haley did go to the gym with Miles, so there’s a great opportunity to show Miles’ passion for boxing.
If anything the Playboy article might be used as a strong jumping off point to reflect Miles’ feelings on race and other important social issues. Miles didn’t need a magazine as a conduit to express his feelings, but in the context of a film, maybe it’s a good device to connect different personal issues and opinions circulating at that point in his life.
Here’s an excerpt from Miles, the Autobiography:
It’s 1962-63, we’re in that musical chapter of Miles’ life that makes up Steamin’, Quiet Nights and Seven Steps to Heaven, so clearly transition was stirring, which could be a good source of drama… and what’s a great biopic without drama.
But it is his portrait of Miles Davis, rather than any politician or rock star that Burke describes as his favorite subject.
“Miles, Miles, Miles: There is something about his fiercely independent spirit and look in his eyes that really inspired me,” he said. Though Davis is long dead, Burke still manages to find the essence of the artist by analyzing videos. “My preparation involves studying a person that I’m doing. Between Google and YouTube, I have a lot of possibilities. ”
The very nature of caricatures is comedic exaggeration, but Burke desires to understand and learn about his subjects in an effort to infuse his work with authentic social commentary.
“There’s a spiritual aspect. My goal is for you to see what it means to be human,” he said.
A collection of Philip Burke’s art can be seen at the Old Town Gallery on 130 Main Street in Seal Beach, CA
Text above from the article The Art of Fame – via Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch
Artwork is © Philip Burke
A Weekly Round-Up Of Miles Davis News And Notes
1. Miles Davis’ ‘Birth of the Cool’ heats up again
“It remains one of the most revered albums in jazz history, a recording that has seduced generations with its warmly glowing tone and coyly alluring melodies. So you’d think musicians might be wary of performing Miles Davis’ “Birth of the Cool” in concert. Why mess with a classic, right?” [Chicago Tribune]
2. Stuff I like: Miles Davis
“What attracts me to Davis is that sense of growth, that incessant reaching for something more, something fresh.” [not just movies]
3. Everything In Its Right Place: The Exchange Between Radiohead And Jazz
“If Miles Davis is one of the band’s prime influences, they in turn receive acknowledgement from some of the most respected jazz musicians in today’s scene with a surprising number of covers. It is probably safe to say that recently Radiohead has become the rock band that garners the most attention from the jazz community.” [DIY]
4. The work of Irving Penn
“The portrait that I’ve chosen to talk about is a photograph of another hero of mine, the jazz musician Miles Davis. It’s one of Penn’s later close-cropped portraits of Miles taken with his eyes closed and his hands on his face. You can see Miles thinking and maybe humming or whistling a tune – it’s a great portrait. The light falls perfectly on his hands and face and I like the crop too, losing the top part of the subject’s head and fading into black at the bottom, focusing all the attention onto Miles’ face.”
The shot of Miles Davis epitomizes Penn’s skill as a photographer to find that “more profound” side of his subject. Penn shot Miles Davis several times and another favourite image of Miles’ is a shot just of his hand taken against a neutral background. It shows his hand open with one finger down, as if playing a note on his trumpet. It’s unmistakably Miles and a very clever piece of work indeed I hope you find the time to look at that, and more of Irving Penn’s work.[wex blog]
5. Miles Davis: Jazz-Festival Newport in Paris, France (1969) [youtube]
6. Restraint: What Cooks Can Learn From Miles Davis
“What Miles knew inherently as a jazz musician, as cooks often learn though experience and time, was restraint, or, simply put, “less is more.” [the atlantic]
And now we know exactly what the ASO will be performing. Conducted by Joe Muccioli, the orchestra program will feature the complete Sketches of Spain album. That is going to be a terrific show!
The ASO certainly had plenty of classic Miles Davis work to choose from, but Sketches of Spain is right up there with one of Miles’ finest achievements, a beautiful and innovative masterpiece.
Featured in the performance alongside Muccioli will be James Morrison (Trumpet), James Muller (Guitar), Phillip Stack (Bass) and Gordon Rytmeister (Drums).
ASO Plays Miles Davis
Friday May 13, 8:00 pm
Saturday May 14, 8:00 pm
Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre
Writes Charboneau: “What Miles knew inherently as a jazz musician, as cooks often learn though experience and time, was restraint, or, simply put, “less is more.”
Here’s Charboneau’s recipe for Broiled Oysters with Beurre Blanc and Caviar:
Serves 4; 2 dozen oysters on the half shell; 1 ounce caviar (Beluga, Osetra, Sevruga, or U.S. farm-raised)
For the beurre blanc:
• 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
• ¼ cup white wine
• 1 medium shallot, minced
• 3 tablespoons cream
• 1/4 pound butter (cut into 8 pieces)
In small skillet, add vinegar, wine, shallot, and cream, then cook over medium heat and reduce until thick. Turn heat off and slowly whisk in butter until you have a smooth sauce. Place oysters in half shell on baking sheet, then place under a broiler set at 500 degrees for two minutes. Remove from oven and tip oysters to the side to drain off extra juice. Top each oyster with beurre blanc, then top with a touch of caviar.
Serve immediately, preferably with a glass of Champagne.
* We’ll add that playing a little Miles Davis in the background is also preferable, along with the oysters and champagne.
PopDose is a longtime favorite music website of mine. Back when it was Jefitoblog I was lucky enough to contribute a few music ‘Guide’ entries. But I digress… Today I am happy to report that writer Chris Holmes has included Miles Davis into The Weekly Mixtape, this week featuring some of ‘the best jazz music’ Holmes’ has ever heard.
And so the classic “Blue in Green” by Miles Davis (from Kind of Blue) joins other jazz mp3s such as “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” by Charles Mingus, “Brilliant Corners” by Thelonious Monk, “Blue Rondo à la Turk” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet and “Airegin” by Wes Montgomery.
It’s a terrific mixtape top to bottom. Enjoy!