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Music From and Inspired by Miles Davis Film Coming in February

The soundtrack for Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool features selections Stanley Nelson, Jr. used in his documentary, along with one new recording

Official poster for Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Official poster for Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

On February 21, four days before the broadcast premiere of Stanley Nelson’s acclaimed documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool on PBS’ American Masters, Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings will release its soundtrack album, Music From and Inspired by “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool,” a Film by Stanley Nelson.

The album features selections from Davis’ massive recorded catalog, as curated by Nelson for use in his film, extending from the beginning of the legendary trumpeter’s career (“Donna Lee,” recorded in 1947 with bebop icon Charlie Parker) to its twilight (the title track to Davis’s Grammy-winning 1986 album Tutu). It also juxtaposes these selections with excerpts from the commentaries recorded for the film by the likes of musicians Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Carlos Santana, and Marcus Miller, among others.

In addition, Music From and Inspired by “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” offers the debut of a newly recorded track. “Hail to the Real Chief” features a montage of unreleased studio trumpet recordings by Davis, accompanied by new music written by Lenny White and featuring drummers White and Vince Wilburn Jr., guitarists John Scofield and Quinton Zoto, bassist Miller, saxophonists Emilio Modeste and Antoine Roney, keyboardist Bernard Wright, and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. White and Wilburn (Davis’ nephew) produced the new track, which can be streamed here.

The track list for Music From and Inspired by “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool,” a Film by Stanley Nelson is as follows:

  1. Commentary: Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath
  2. Milestones (1958)
  3. Commentary: Greg Tate
  4. Donna Lee (Charlie Parker with Miles Davis) (1947)
  5. Commentary: Ashley Kahn, Symphony Sid Introduction
  6. Moon Dreams (1949)
  7. Commentary: George Wein
  8. ‘Round Midnight (1957)
  9. Commentary: Carlos Santana
  10. It Never Entered My Mind (1959)
  11. Commentary: Vincent Bessieres
  12. Generique (1958)
  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 (45RPM Single Edit) (1970)
  25. Commentary: Marcus Miller
  26. Tutu (1986)
  27. Commentary: Erin Davis
  28. Hail to the Real Chief (2019)

Watch the trailer for Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool.

Enjoy this interview with the film’s director Stanley Nelson.