This past Saturday I caught Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis movie with a trumpet-playin’ pal who’s my go-to resource as a formidable authority on all things jazz. While I found Miles Ahead to be not quite as unconventional as the buzz has suggested, we both agreed it’s plenty snazzy and witty, and Cheadle really rocks the part of the late legend of #socialmusic. Part biopic and part caper flick, the film is also something of a meditation on the paradox of the artistic impulse being both very fragile and ever resilient.
(A paradox about which I mean to write a little more directly about, maybe sooner rather than later)
My friend and I also both agreed, over cautious discussions that began once the cleverly conceived end-credits/concert sequence closed out the movie, that this may not have been the exhaustive and/or “ultimate” Miles movie his ardent fans might have hoped for, but it was certainly entertaining and, as Cheadle himself defined it, definitely the kind of movie in which Miles himself probably would have wanted to star. The review I’d love to claim as my own (but can’t) came when my friend declared it the perfect beginning to what should become an extensive “Milesverse” of movies in which Cheadle and co-star Ewan McGregor become a kind of Tubbs-and-Crockett of the jazz scene.
With all those qualifications in place, I’m happy to say that the film has truly lingered for me now long after leaving the theater, and moments from it keep popping into my head at some pretty random times.
There’s one memorable scene that finds the younger Miles performing in a club; (muse and wife) Frances Taylor comes in and takes a table directly across from him. As he plays, everyone else in the crowd melts away and we’re left with only the two of them in the room–the music having created this invisible but very real and umbilical connection between his insides and hers.
Today, I was looking over (and trying to “get,” frankly) a nerdy article about theoretical physics, and it was this very scene that jumped instantly to mind as I read over a definition of “quantum nonlocality”:
“Two or more particles can act in a coordinated way, no matter how far apart they may be…the particles behave as though they are not, in fact, separated. And one possible explanation is that the particles are rooted in the deeper level of reality where distance has no meaning.”
Now, that scene in Miles Ahead is definitely not 100% analogous to that theory, but I do think it dramatizes how music, and movies for that matter, exist “in the deeper level of reality where distance has no meaning.”