Award-Winning Filmmaker on the Legacy of Miles Davis

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with award-winning documentary filmmaker, Stanley Nelson, on his latest work "Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool" about the legacy of the great musician.

7/18/19 #2230







"It wasn't about standing still and becoming safe. But I've always been the way I am. Been like this all my life. If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change. [music playing] It's all about Miles Davis. And this is Stanley Nelson, the director of an incredibly interesting film, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool. An award-winning... he is, in fact, an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Good to see you Stanley. Good to see you. So I remember the first time I heard Seven Steps to Heaven, right? I listened to it years back. I said, "Wow. I don't..." I started reading about Miles Davis. Why is he such an incredibly complicated, fascinating person to make a film about? I think besides Miles being someone who spanned, you know, so many years of jazz. I mean, Miles comes to New York in 1944, and starts playing with Charlie Parker. You know, he ends up in the 80s with playing fusion, you know, with Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter and all those people come through Miles. So Miles ran through so many eras at such a high degree of excellence, you know, as Miles says, you know, he changed jazz you know, five or six times. There's nobody like Miles in terms of just musicianship and what he... Nobody? And what he gave to jazz. Nobody? And what he gave to music. No. Nobody. But also Miles is so complicated. And that's what makes him so interesting. You know he made such beautiful music, such tender music. Seven Steps to Heaven, you know of course kind of blew that whole album, it's so just... you know, a classic. I'm thinking about the cover of it right now. It's a blue cover? Yes. I'm just thinking about... It's... right now. Yeah. I mean everybody knows, you know. And it's just a beautiful album. But Miles was so complicated, and hard to get along with. Was he nasty? And he was nasty. He was nasty. And... On stage? I'm sorry for interrupting. Both? No. No. Musicians... all the musicians that played with Miles loved him. They loved him. I mean... and he could be mean to musicians, but once you were kind of in his band, in his circle? You were family. And so those people really loved him. But to his family, to the people who loved him, to the women who loved him, and to the women who, I truly believe, he loved, he was not nice. Not? And you decided to... By the way, you have this long history, remind folks of some of the work that you have done, the..."