To celebrate the release of Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead this Friday, we’ve got a collection of Miles Davis vinyl classics to giveaway. The LPs included are Kind Of Blue, Sketches From Spain, In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew.
For the chance to win let us know your most memorable jazz moment in cinema by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Miles Ahead’ in the subject line or tweet your answer to @Picturehouses with the hashtag #MilesAhead.
Take a look at some of our picks below for inspiration. Miles Ahead lands in cinemas on Friday 22 April.
Competition closes on Monday 25 April. The winner will be chosen at random. Terms and condition apply.
The Jazz Singer (Director: Alan Crosland, 1927)
What better way is there to herald the unison of sound and image than with jazz music? Warner Bros certainly felt that way in 1927 with their milestone production of The Jazz Singer – the first feature film to synchronise dialogue sequences – which marked the decline of the silent-film era.
Lift To The Scaffold (Director: Louis Malle, 1958)
The list would not be complete without Miles himself and the perfect fusion of jazz and cinema. Picture the scene: 1957, Paris. Miles performs at the famous jazz haunt Club Saint-Germain and is cornered by Jean-Paul Rappeneu, the assistant to Louis Malle. Davis agrees to compose the soundtrack of Malle’s seminal work of the French New Wave, Lift To The Scaffold, and the result is a timeless Davis record which jazz critic Phil Johnson described as “the loneliest trumpet sound you will ever hear, and the model for sad-core music ever since. Hear it and weep.”
Shadows (Director: John Cassavetes, 1959)
Enter John Cassavetes and his lasting legacy on independent cinema. His trail-blazing style of filmmaking – with its emphasis on improvisation and an energetic approach to editing – echoed the approach of the jazz musicians he so admired. Perhaps there is no better example than his first feature, the Beatnik New York odyssey Shadows, for which celebrated jazz musicians Charles Mingus and Shafi Hadi provided the score.
Space Is The Place (Director: John Coney, 1972)
The moment when science fiction and jazz fused together in a cosmic burst of cult cinema. Sun Ra, jazz’s interstellar voyager (he claimed to be an angel from Saturn) and founder of Afrofuturism, made the little-seen Space Is The Place in 1972. With its heady mix of cosmic-sounding brass and Blaxploitation, the film follows Sun Ra and his crew, The Arkestra, on a new planet in outer space after the bandleader is lost from his European tour of June 1969.
The Conversation (Director: Francis Ford Coppola, 1973)
*Spoiler alert* – we complete our list with the image of Gene Hackman playing the tenor saxophone at the breathtaking and memorable ending of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1973 classic of New Hollywood. Overwrought by paranoia after wrecking his apartment looking for surveillance bugs, Harry Caul exorcises his demons by playing along to David Shire’s haunting theme.