Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool won two Emmy Awards on Wednesday (Sept. 29), the second night of the 2021 News & Documentary Emmys. The doc about jazz legend Miles Davis won outstanding arts and culture documentary and outstanding sound.
The doc premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2019 and screened a few months later at the Maryland Film Festival. The doc received a Grammy nod in 2019 for best music film, but lost to Beyoncé’s Homecoming. It had its U.S. broadcast premiere as part of PBS’ American Masters series on Feb. 25, 2020, which made it eligible for the Emmys.
The doc took its title from a 1957 Capitol compilation album of the same name. That album, which collects tracks that Davis recorded in New York City in 1949-50, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1982. Davis received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 1990. He died the following year at age 65 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
The award for outstanding arts and culture doc went to executive producers Adam Barker, Cheryl Davis (Miles’ daughter), Erin Davis (his son), Geoff Kempin, Darryl Porter, Terry Shand, Vince Wilburn (his nephew) and Michael Kantor; director/producer Stanley Nelson; producer Nicole London; supervising producers Junko Tsunashima and Peter Worsley; series producer Julie Sacks; and editors Lewis Erskine, Yusuf Kapadia and Natasha Livia.
The award for outstanding sound went to sound editor Brian Bracken, sound recordist Gautam Choudhury, and supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer Benny Mouthon, CAS.
The Emmy for outstanding music composition went to another PBS doc, Primates. The winning composers were Adam Lukas and Denise Santos.
The awards were live-streamed on the Emmys’ dedicated platform, Watch.TheEmmys.TV, powered by Vimeo. Awards honoring television news programming were presented on Tuesday Sept. 28.
The 42nd annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards honors programming content that premiered in calendar year 2020.