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Miles Davis Radio and TV Tributes

Most of these broadcasts cannot be wedged into the Miles Ahead database, so I have listed them separately. Several were produced during Davis' lifetime, and most contain interviews as well as musical examples.

The Sound of Miles Davis
(CBS-TV broadcast, July 1959; TT = 26 min)

Not a tribute per se, but a broadcast video appreciation made at the height of Davis' popularity. This performance was filmed as an installment of The Robert Herridge Theater, a popular CBS-TV anthology show in New York City. Herridge was a serious jazz and theater fan, perhaps best known among jazz fans as the producer of the hour-long CBS-TV show The Sound of Jazz (1957), featuring Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Giuffre, and many others. The Sound of Miles Davis was recorded in April 1959 in CBS Studio 61 and broadcast several months later; it features Davis with his Quintet (Cannonball Adderley missed this date because of a migraine headache) and with the Gil Evans Orchestra.

The footage has been released many times, first on VHS videotape, and many times since on DVD. It was included on a DVD in the 50th Anniversary Edition of Kind of Blue (Columbia Legacy 88697 33552), but the audio is badly distorted. The best available version is on Idem Home Video IDVD 1057, which includes several other important jazz films from the 1950s. [details]

  • Introduction (Robert Herridge)
  • "So What"
  • Introduction of the orchestra
  • "The Duke"
  • "Blues for Pablo"
  • "New Rhumba"
  • Closing announcement and outro

For further details about this performance, consult the discography entry elsewhere on this site.

Miles Ahead: The Music of Miles Davis
(PBS Great Performances series, broadcast October 17, 1986; TT = 58 min)

A documentary containing footage from the 1986 New Orleans Jazz Festival, plus interviews with Davis, George Benson, Bill Cosby, Gil Evans, Robben Ford, Dizzy Gillespie, Keith Jarrett, Wayne Shorter, and Tony Williams. Also included are excerpts from several TV broadcasts of Davis performances. The details are as follows:

  • "My Funny Valentine," Stockholm 10/31/67 (opening credits/voiceover; voiceover Dizzy Gillespie from 0:52) (1:01)
  • "Directions," Antibes 7/25/69 (voiceover Herbie Hancock) (0:38)
  • Unidentified title (1973) (voiceover George Benson) (0:42)
  • Miles Davis interview (0:14)
  • "So What," New York 4/2/59 (voiceover Bill Cosby from 2:29) (3:11)
  • "One Phone Call - Street Scenes," New Orleans 4/25/86 (2:19)
  • Miles Davis interview (2:02)
  • Unidentified title (1945) (voiceover Dizzy Gillespie from 0:16)
  • Miles Davis interview (voiceover)
  • "Bird Feathers," 1947 (0:45)
  • Miles Davis interview (voiceover last 0:15 of previous) (1:43)
  • "Star People," New Orleans 4/25/86 (1:15)
  • Gil Evans interview (0:14)
  • "Boplicity" (voiceover Gil Evans, 0:07-0:20) (0:38)
  • Miles Davis interview (0:28)
  • "New Rhumba," New York 4/2/59 (voiceover Gil Evans, 0:35-0:58 and 2:16-2:59) (2:53)
  • "Blues for Pablo," New York 4/2/59 (voiceover Miles Davis, 0:21-0:35; Gil Evans, 0:58-1:16)
  • "Time After Time," New Orleans 4/25/86 (1:16)
  • Robben Ford interview (0:46)
  • Introduction of the band, Stockholm 10/31/67 (0:14)
  • Tony Williams interview (0:48)
  • Miles Davis interview (0:36)
  • Drum solo, Stockholm 10/31/67 (voiceover Miles Davis, 0:24-0:41) (0:41)
  • "'Round Midnight," Stockholm 10/31/67 (voiceover Herbie Hancock, 0:08-0:30; Miles Davis, 1:01-1:44; Wayne Shorter, 1:45-2:20; Tony Williams, 2:29-2:57) (2:57)
  • Herbie Hancock interview (0:35)
  • "Gingerbread Boy," Stockholm 10/31/67 (voiceover Herbie Hancock, 0:16-0:51, 1:13-1:46) (1:46)
  • "Agitation," Stockholm 10/31/67 (voiceover Herbie Hancock) (0:21)
  • "Footprints," Stockholm 10/31/67 (5:48)
  • "'Round Midnight," Stockholm 10/31/67 (0:18)
  • Miles Davis interview (over "The Theme" + applause, Stockholm 10/31/67) (1:12)
  • "Al Jarreau," New Orleans 4/25/86 (2:35)
  • Keith Jarrett interview (0:36)
  • "Honky Tonk," 1971 (voiceover Keith Jarrett) (1:45)
  • "I Thought About You" (voiceover Keith Jarrett) (1:22)
  • "Turnaroundphrase," Berlin 11/1/73 (1:08)
  • Miles Davis in studio (1:20)
  • "It Gets Better," studio 1981 (0:20)
  • Bill Cosby interview (0:59)
  • Gil Evans interview (0:19)
  • "Human Nature," New Orleans 4/25/86 (band member credits) (3:12)

Directed by Mark Obenhaus for WNET/Obenhaus Films; produced by WNET/Thirteen, New York
Funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Duracell, Inc.

The Miles Davis Radio Project
(American Public Radio, 1990; TT = 8 hr)

  • Episode 1 (60 min) - Miles Davis: The Early Years 1926-1946 serves as both an introduction to Davis' extraordinary career and also paints a picture of his youth in East St. Louis IL. The show features a demonstration of "'Round Midnight" performed by trumpeter Jon Faddis.
  • Episode 2 (60 min) - New York to Paris and Back 1946-1955 explores Davis' move from Illinois to New York City to replace Dizzy Gillespie in the Charlie Parker Quintet at age nineteen. The program includes a rare and unreleased excerpt of John Coltrane's first recording.
  • Episode 3 (60 min) - Miles Davis: Midnight Idol 1955-1959 explores Davis' rise to celebrity during the late 1950s, featuring demonstrations by saxophonist Andrew White, pianist George Duke, and drummer Tony Williams.
  • Episode 4 (60 min) - The 1960s are Electric, 1960-1969 explores another extraordinary Miles Davis/Gil Evans recording, Sketches of Spain, and includes several never released outtakes from the session, plus demonstrations from drummer Lenny White and pianist George Duke.
  • Episode 5 (60 min) - Miles Davis: The Seventies and Eighties, Retirement and Rebirth looks further into Davis' influential electric bands and now classic recordings Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson, Big Fun, Get Up With It, and others. It features demonstrations from trumpeter Olu Dara and guitarist Carlos Santana.
  • Episode 6 (60 min) - Behind the Scenes with Miles Davis features (1) excerpts from sevreal Columbia Records studio sessions (1955-1967); (2) the making of "Tutu" with Marcus Miller and Tommy Li Puma (February 1986); and (3) Davis in rehearsal (March 1988).
  • Episode 7/8 (120 min) - A two-hour music special which features unreleased recordings from New York's Indigo Blues (December 1988) and the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano (June 1989). Interwoven are rare live recordings of earlier groups. Musicians Art Blakey, Dave Holland, Keith Jarrett, Airto Moreira, and Joni Mitchell talk about the live performance experience.

Down Beat magazine (November 1990) described the project as follows:

The Miles Davis Radio Project, hosted by actor Danny Glover, is a landmark, seven-part series that is being distributed this October to all public radio stations in the United States. Six one-hour documentary programs and a two-hour music special featuring live recordings made on tour with Miles in 1988 and 1989, these recordings are the first official release of any live Miles in eight years. The series also features musical demonstrations by Jon Faddis, Lester Bowie, Tony Williams, Roy Porter, Andrew White, Jason Miles, Marcus Miller, George Duke, Olu Dara, and Lenny White. In addition, there are exclusive glimpses into outtakes from legendary CBS recording sessions, including 'Round About Midnight, Sketches of Spain, and Circle in the Round. Research for the project has been extensive. Writer Quincy Troupe spent over 100 hours over a period of three years interviewing Miles for Miles: The Autobiography. Executive Producer Steve Rowland and Troupe recorded interviews and demonstrations with over 100 musicians, artists, and writers, including Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Taylor, Jimmy Cobb, Art Farmer, Carlos Santana, Roberta Flack, Marcus Miller, Joni Mitchell, Hamiett Bluiett, Gerry Mulligan, Ira Gitler, Tony Williams, Joe Zawinul, and Wayne Shorter.

Funding for The Miles Davis Radio Project was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the William Penn Foundation.

Executive Producer Steve Rowland, who founded artistowned.com as a way for independent artists to distribute their music and films, has made the eight-hour series available as a digital download for a modest cost (.mp3 only).

Miles in Montreux
(PBS broadcast, 1993; TT = 75 min)

A documentary from the Montreux Jazz Festival devoted to the Quincy Jones' 1991 revisiting of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaborations of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

  • "'Round Midnight" (opening credits/backstage)
  • Stage introduction
  • "Boplicity" (voiceover Randy Brecker; Bill Evans; Quincy Jones; George Duke; Miles Davis)
  • Herbie Hancock interview
  • Quincy Jones interview
  • "The Duke" (voiceover Quincy Jones)
  • "Blues for Pablo"
  • Gil Goldstein interview
  • Quincy Jones interview
  • "Solea" (voiceover Quincy Jones)
  • Quincy Jones interview
  • "Tutu" (crossfade: concert night/backstage warmup)
  • Quincy Jones interview
  • Stage introducion (Claude Nobs)
  • Introduction of Miles Davis (Quincy Jones)
  • "Boplicity"
  • Herbie Hancock interview
  • "Maids of Cadiz"
  • "The Duke"
  • Claude Nobs interview
  • "My Ship"
  • "Miles Ahead"
  • Howard Johnson interview
  • "Gone, Gone, Gone"
  • "Summertime"
  • Diane Reeves interview
  • "Here Come de Honey Man"
  • "The Pan Piper" (incomplete)
  • Herbie Hancock interview
  • "Solea"
  • Quincy Jones interview
  • Closing stage announcement
  • Quincy Jones interview
  • Closing credits

Recorded July 8, 1991; Casino, Montreux
Montreux Jazz Festival Productions in cooperation with Swiss TV and Duke Productions
Producer: Quincy Jones and Claude Nobs

Most of this concert is included on Live at Montreux 1991 (Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2013).

The Man with the Horn
(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1995; TT = 5 hr)

The Man with the Horn was produced by CBC Winnipeg, and was originally broadcast on five Sundays in April 1995 (April 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30). I am grateful to series producer Margaret Ingram for providing me with the details below.

Among those interviewed were George Avakian, Bob Belden, George Butler, Ron Carter, Jack Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, Chick Corea, Michael Elam, Ira Gitler, Lorraine Gordon, Sonny Greenwich, Jimmy Heath, Keith Jarrett, Lee Konitz, Bruce Lundvall, Teo Macero, Gordon Meltzer, James Rose, Marcus Miller, Max Roach, Wallace Roney, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Marvin Stamm, Clark Terry, Quincy Troupe, and Joe Zawinul. Additional interviews from other sources include Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan.

The following music was included in the broadcasts.

First show (55:00)

  • "Miles Ahead" (1:30) from Miles Ahead
  • "Congo Blues" (3:00), "20th Century Blues" (2:50), "The Street Beat" (2:20), "Ko Ko" (2:50), "Thriving on a Riff" (2:50), "Billie's Bounce" (3:00), "Sippin' at Bell's" (2:20), and "Night in Tunisia" (2:55) from The Complete Charlie Parker
  • "Donna Lee" (2:00) from The Memorable Claude Thornhill
  • "Jeru" (3:10), "Israel" (2:15), "Venus de Milo" (2:00), and "Boplicity" (2:00) from Birth of the Cool
  • "Pointless Mama Blues" (2:48) from First Miles

Second show (55:00)

  • "Boplicity" (2:57) from Birth of the Cool
  • "Tasty Pudding" (3:19), "The Serpent's Tooth" (1:30), and "Solar" (4:40) from Chronicle
  • "Yardbird Suite" (0:38) from The Complete Charlie Parker
  • "Ahmad's Blues" (1:00), by Ahmad Jamal
  • "'Round Midnight" (5:51) from 'Round About Midnight
  • "Miles Ahead" (3:58) from Miles Ahead
  • "Summertime" (3:17) from Porgy and Bess
  • "Freddie Freeloader" (2:00), "Blue in Green" (5:26), and "All Blues" (3:00) from Kind of Blue

Third show (55:00)

  • "So What" (2:30) from Kind of Blue
  • "Concierto de Aranjuez" (14:30) from Sketches of Spain
  • "Someday My Prince Will Come" (1:45) from Someday My Prince Will Come
  • "Song #2" (1:36) from Quiet Nights
  • "Iris" (8:30) from E.S.P.
  • "Walkin'" (5:30) from Cookin' at the Plugged Nickel
  • "Shhh/Peaceful" (1:36), "In a Silent Way" (1:29), and "It's About That Time" (5:50) from In a Silent Way

Fourth show (55:00)

  • "In a Silent Way - It's About That Time" (2:40) from In a Silent Way
  • "Pharaoh's Dance" (2:00), "Bitches Brew" (2:00), and "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" (2:30) from Bitches Brew
  • "Right Off" (2:30) from Tribute to Jack Johnson
  • "Directions" (1:30) from Black Beauty
  • "On the Corner" (2:00) from On the Corner
  • "He Loved Him Madly" (2:00) from Get Up With It
  • "Water Babies" (5:04) from Water Babies
  • "Aida" (3:00) and "Ursula" (3:30) from The Man with the Horn

Fifth show (55:00)

  • "Fat Time" (2:00) from The Man with the Horn
  • "My Man's Gone Now" (1:40) and "Back Seat Betty" (1:30) from We Want Miles
  • "It Gets Better" (3:00) from Star People
  • "Decoy" (2:30) from Decoy
  • "One Phone Call" (1:30) and "Time After Time" (1:20) from You're Under Arrest
  • "Tutu" (5:02) from Tutu
  • "Springsville" (3:00) and "Solea" (3:00) from Live in Montreux
  • "The Doo-Bop Song" (1:15) from Doo-Bop
  • "I Fall in Love Too Easily" (3:30) from Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel
  • "Freddie Freeloader" (7:00) from Kind of Blue

The Miles Davis Story
(Columbia Music Video CVD 54040; Columbia Legacy 201494-9; Sony Music Video (J) SIBP-27)

Produced and directed by Mike Dibb for Channel 4 TV (UK) in 2001, the film features classic performances from all eras of Davis' career and insightful interviews with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Clark Terry, Joe Zawinul and many others. Hosted by trumpeter and Davis biographer Ian Carr, The Miles Davis Story presents the music and the man behind the public image, from Davis' middle-class upbringing in racially segregated East St. Louis to the last years when he traveled the world like a rock star.

The segments that most persuasively illustrate that duality are a series of interviews with close family members: Irene Cawthon, the mother of his first three children; his ex-wife Frances Taylor Davis; his daughter Cheryl; his youngest son, Erin. Additional interviews include conversations with producers Bob Weinstock (who signed Davis to Prestige in the early 1950s) and George Avakian (who signed him to Columbia in 1955); with his close musical and personal associate, arranger-composer Gil Evans; and with musicians Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack De Johnette, John Scofield, Marcus Miller, and saxophonist Bill Evans, among others.

The wide variety of film clips includes abbreviated musical performances by Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams. Still photographs add to the wealth of information. Chapters include:

  • The Legend of Miles Davis
  • St. Louis Roots
  • Miles' First Girlfriend
  • His First trumpet
  • Meeting Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie
  • On to New York City
  • A Visit to France
  • Addicted to Heroin
  • Birth of the Cool
  • Meeting producer Bob Weinstock
  • Miles in prison
  • Signing with Columbia Records
  • Working with Gil Evans
  • A New Trumpet Sound
  • Jimmy Cobb Remembers
  • Working with Louis Malle
  • A French Girlfriend
  • Meeting His First Wife
  • Kind of Blue
  • Assaulted by Police
  • Sketches of Spain
  • Working with Teo Macero
  • Miles at Home
  • Collaborating with John Coltrane
  • A New Quintet
  • Playing with Pain
  • Family Problems
  • Playing with Young Turks
  • Befriending Joe Zawinul
  • Discovering Jimi Hendrix
  • Bitches Brew
  • A Rock 'n' Roll Phase
  • Keith Jarrett Joins the Band
  • Tribute to Jack Johnson
  • Turbulent Times
  • The Saxophone as Foil
  • Creative Burnout
  • Enter Cicely Tyson
  • A New Saxophone Player
  • The Comeback
  • A New Art Form
  • Playing with the New Generation
  • A Pop Icon
  • Miles the Father
  • Artists United Against Apartheid
  • He Still Wants to Be Hip
  • A Reunion
  • The Legacy of Miles Davis

Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue - Featuring His Performance at the Isle of Wight
(Eagle Eye Media EE 39020-9; Eagle Vision EREDV263 - TT = 123 min)

The centerpiece of this 2004 film is the Davis Septet's performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, in front of nearly 600,000 people who must have been mystified by the forty-minute set. The film includes interviews with several of Davis' bandmates, as well as Herbie Hancock, James Mtume Forman, Pete Cosey, and Carlos Santana. Plus a sessionography for 1967-1975 composed by Enrico Merlin. Chapters include:

  1. A Spiritual Orgasm
  2. "So What" Kind of Blue 1964
  3. Fender Rhodes Piano - The New Electric Toy
  4. Bitches Brew - Shaking the Foundations
  5. Betty Davis and Miles' Hard Core Rock
  6. Boxing, Improvisation, and Miles' Music
  7. Caught Up in the Craziness of the Sixties
  8. The Critics' Jazz - The Dirty Word
  9. Embracing the Shock of Electricity
  10. The Isle of Wight - The Sidemen
  11. "Call it Anything" - The Isle of Wight Concert 1970
  12. Tributes to Miles' Genius
  13. End Credits

For details of the Isle of Wight performance, consult the discography entry elsewhere on this site.

Music From and Inspired by Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a Film by Stanley Nelson
(Columbia Legacy SNYL 599435-2, 2019 - TT = 115 min)

Produced by Stanley Nelson and Vince Wilburn Jr. See the discography entry for the musical contents of this item.

  1. Commentary: Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath
  2. "Milestones" (1958)
  3. Commentary: Greg Tate
  4. "Donna Lee" (1947)
  5. Commentary: Ashley Kahn, Symphony Sid Introduction
  6. "Moon Dreams" (1948)
  7. Commentary: George Wein 
  8. "'Round Midnight" (1956)
  9. Commentary: Carlos Santana
  10. "It Never Entered My Mind" (1956)
  11. Commentary: Vincent Bessieres
  12. "Générique" (1957)
  13. Commentary: Jimmy Cobb
  14. "So What" (1959)
  15. Commentary: Gil Evans
  16. "New Rhumba" (1957)
  17. Commentary: Frances Taylor Davis
  18. "The Pan Piper" (Alborada de Vigo) (1960)
  19. Commentary: Jack Chambers
  20. "Someday My Prince Will Come" (1961)
  21. Commentary: Wayne Shorter
  22. "Footprints" (1967)
  23. Commentary: Carlos Santana, Quincy Troupe 
  24. "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" (45 rpm single edit) (1969)
  25. Commentary: Marcus Miller
  26. "Tutu" (1986)
  27. Commentary: Erin Davis
  28. "Hail to the Real Chief" (featuring unreleased Davis performances)
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