This is a beautiful biography of Miles, with people who knew him well - ladies and gentlemen who lived with him, worked with him, played with him, grew with him, learned from him, fled from him and even one or two that actually Miles could learn from (Dizzy, Clark Terry). Spoken by family members and people like Shirley Horne, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Bill Evans (the sax player), Dave Liebman, George Avakian or Marcus Miller, the words spoken on the wild and controversial life of Miles bring him to life vividly, as the musician and (obviously, somewhat difficult) man... Well directed and clearly narrated, the biographical documentary is a great introduction to Miles' work; the DVD also has additional info on main albums of his various phases of career.
I recently bought this DVD and was a bit disappointed about it. Not that it isn't very informative, because it is and it IS very interesting to hear all the funny and not so funny stories about Miles Davis' life and personality - also specially because it is very honest and straightforward information, which is revealed here, BUT - and here it comes, the music is kept very much in the background throughout this film!!! Just when you think (after an extended monologue) that now you're going to hear some great music emphasizing what you've just heard, so beautifully presented in words, they start rapping all over again.
The closest you get to where you really get into the music is when Herbie Hancock & Ron Carter talks about what you're actually are seeing being played by the famous quintet, that is a very interesting part, but even then it is only fragments we are presented with. A big plus though, besides the interviews with Miles himself, is that mainly all of the musicians/producers, girlfriends and wives we see and hear in this documentary, were the real people who worked (and lived) with him for many years (or in intense periods), and it definitely is great to hear Chick Corea, Dave Holland and all the other wonderful musicians telling you about how it really was working with him, but as mentioned: no spots is left for the music to speak for itself.
So let me put it this way, if you mainly is after the actual story about Miles' life, and the man behind the music, then buy this DVD - because then you'll certainly get value for your money, but if you are hoping for more than 15 seconds of music, without interruption from a voiceover, then go for "Miles Davis - A different Kind Of Blue", "Miles Davis Quintet - European Tour 1967" or "Miles Davis - The Cool Jazz Sound" plus the book - "Miles: The Autobiography". I've seen an older documentary about Miles, similar to this, but it contained several sequences with uninterrupted music. If this documentary hadn't lost the opportunity to let the music come to the surface, it would have been a five star.