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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Miles Ahead (2016)

It is very clear, even before watching this movie, that Miles Davis was a complicated guy.  You have only to listen to his music to figure that out.  Talented, mercurial, and complicated.  We watched this in the early evening on New Years Day because we knew that it would take stamina, attention, and some amount of stomaching the bad in order to watch it.  All of that was very true, and completely worth it.  Davis is a somewhat rare figure in jazz in that he was widely known and admired in his lifetime.  He was considered a musician who could make the name of other jazz musicians, so he could never exactly tell who his friends were.  In addition, he grew famous in a segregated America, and so while he was revered by music lovers, he suffered terrible prejudice at the hands of the police and others.  It is painful to watch and remember that was the norm in the American South not all that long ago. And maybe coming back, given the racist rhetoric of our incoming president.  Davis was also addicted to drugs, and that certainly doesn't set him apart from other musicians, but it did complicate things for him.  He was paranoid and unpredictable as a result, which led to problems in his first marriage as well as problems in his musical expression.  I would recommend this movie, but also say that it should not be taken lightly, and no young kids.

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