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Don Cheadle channels erratic jazz genius in first trailer for Miles Ahead

The first full trailer for Don Cheadle’s upcoming Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead was released by Sony Pictures Classics, giving fans the first extended look at the actor’s portrayal of an aging musical master. A crowdfunded effort, the film will also serve as Cheadle’s directorial debut.

The first trailer features Ewan McGregor as a Rolling Stone reporter looking to interview Davis, while Davis goes to incredible (and dangerous) lenghts to get the master tape for his latest series of recordings back.

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Cheadle fills the role of Davis perfectly, showcasing the rough-and-tumble nature of the legendary musician, an individualist who wasn’t afraid to tell it to people straight — often with myriad expletives and consequences.

Thanks to the powerful performance from Cheadle, Miles Ahead has received overwhelmingly positive critical responses from those who attended its premiere at the New York Film Festival last October.

A gruff, extremely gifted, and irreplaceable member of the cast of America’s musical history, Davis was a pioneer, creating musical works which critics consider to be among the most important in the jazz cannon. The trumpet player and composer began his career as a be-bop musician and transformed his sound almost by the decade, famously developing cool jazz in the 1950s, jazz fusion in the early 1970s, acid jazz in the 1980s, and is cited by many as critical in the development of hip-hop, even going so far as to record his own trumpet-filled rap record before his death in 1991.

Like most against-the-grain thinkers, Davis was not without his share of controversy, towing a legendary temper and various drug addictions throughout his life. The film’s trailer does a good job of portraying this, but looks to juxtapose it with what made Davis great, appearing to deliver an uncompromising image of a person who valued musical art above all else.

Jazz fans don’t have much longer to wait to screen the much-anticipated film; Miles Ahead will hit theaters nationwide on April 1.