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Miles Davis and Chet Baker Come to Life in Two New Films

By Thomas Swan t.swan@classicalite.com on Mar 12, 2016 01:12 PM EST

Two of jazz's greatest trumpet players, Miles Davis and Chet Baker, will both be coming back to life in new films due out this spring. Both are set to be played by noted Hollywood actors. In Born to be Blue, due out in theaters March 25, Ethan Hawke portrays the troubled trumpeter of the 50s and 60s Chet Baker. In Miles Ahead, House of Lies star Don Cheadle co-wrote, directed and stars as jazz god Miles Davis.

Cheadle's film will debut March 16 at SXSW. Accordingly, it has been a long time coming. Rolling Stone put the journey into perspective, "Nearly 10 years had passed since Miles Davis' nephew Vince Wilburn declared that Don Cheadle was the only actor who could play the late jazz legend, but it wasn't until Tuesday - when Sony Pictures Classics dropped the first trailer for Miles Ahead - that the rest of the world got a firsthand look at what Wilburn had in mind." Bringing Miles Davis' story to the screen was never going to be easy for any number of reasons, chief among the Miles Davis himself. A very complex and challenging character who even in the best of times would be difficult to true pin down.

The film is set to open nationwide April 1st.

In Born to be Blue, actor Ethan Hawke plays one of Miles Davis' chief rival at the time, the equally troubled, Chet Baker. Hawke committed himself to playing Baker in a story that mixes both fact and fiction. From the website TheStar, "Adding authenticity, Hawke mimics Baker's painful struggles to play first with a ruined mouth and later, ill-fitting dentures after the musician lost all his front teeth while being badly beaten, probably by a drug dealer." A number of attempts throughout the years have been made to bring Baker's life story to the screen, even with Baker playing himself.

Born to be Blue is the first successful attempt.

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TagsMiles Davis, Chet Baker, Jazz, Troubled Jazz Arts Come to Life, Truth Come to LIfe