This film will examine the life and work of Teo Macero, a producer, musician and composer with a pedigree the stretches back to the advent of electronic music, and into the development of jazz, avant-garde and classical music. Focusing mainly on his work with Miles Davis, we will get an insight into the creative mind at work. Through the first hand stories of Teo and other jazz luminaries, the film will develop a feel for a period of intense creativity in the lives of two supremely talented individuals, and the impact that their most significant work together continues to make. We will paint a picture of the period in question and show its importance in the field of music to this day.
Teo Macero was born in Glen Falls, New York in 1925. In 1948, after a period spent serving in the US Navy, he enrolled in New York's world-renowned Juilliard School of Music. Upon completion of his formal education, he played saxophone with jazz auteur Charles Mingus, and at the same time became a member of his Jazz Composer's Workshop. By the end of the decade, however, his burgeoning career in production had superseded his other commitments and Macero was now an in-demand staff producer with Columbia Records, recording the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk and Dave Brubeck. However it is his groundbreaking work with Miles Davis which stands as the crowning achievement of his long and illustrious career. Beginning as engineer on the highest-selling jazz album ever, the 1957 classic 'Kind Of Blue', Macero and Davis enjoyed a close working relationship of almost thirty years, one that lasted until the expiration of the bandleader's contract with Columbia in 1985.
In 1969, CBS released two Teo Macero-produced albums from Miles Davis, 'Bitches Brew' and 'In A Silent Way'. Controversial in their time, initially more easily accepted by rock audiences than jazz fans, these two albums have each become important touchstones of late twentieth century recorded music. Responsible in part for the subsequent careers of many important jazz musicians, in retrospect it can be seen that these bold and adventurous recordings helped to reshape the development of both jazz and rock and to lay the groundwork for modern electronica. Fusing the conventional and the groundbreaking, using electric instrumentation and eclectic tempos more readily associated with the non-mainstream artists of the time, Davis and Macero updated the language of jazz and created new possibilities for recorded sound. But just as Miles Davis blazed important new musical trails with these recordings, so too did Teo Macero stretch the boundaries of accepted standards of record production, and his input must be treated with equal importance.
He was among the first to conceive of the studio as a musical instrument, a common concept among music makers today. In the thirty years that have passed since the making of these records, his production techniques have been assimilated into the mainstream, and today are almost taken for granted. As a man who has already wielded such an important influence on the music of the twenty-first century, it is fitting that we hear his comments on its genesis and his predictions for the future.