Stanley Nelson on his new Miles Davis doc and the jazz musician's complicated legacy

Miles Davis was an incredible musician, but he also had his demons. A new documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson takes a close look at all of this.
Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, June 1956. (Don Hunstein/Sony Music Archives)

Originally published on May 2, 2019

Legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis was an incredible musician whose recording career spanned six decades. At every turn, he was reimagining his sound and through it all, fans and critics described his music as pure, elegant and even romantic.

But Davis also had his demons. He could come across cold or cruel, he lived with drug and alcohol addiction, and he was known to be violent with his partners.

Director Stanley Nelson with host Tom Power in the q studio in Toronto, Ont. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

A new documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson takes a close look at all of this. It's called Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool.

Just ahead of the film's international premiere at Toronto's Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Nelson dropped by the q studio to give us a peek into the life of this talented and complex musician.

You can catch Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival before the festival wraps this Sunday.

Produced by Ben Edwards



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