Don Cheadle is Hollywood’s Ninja actor. He comes and does his job and leaves everyone with the sense that “something just happened.”

Here he comes again with a semi-not-so-accurate bio-pic of the immortal trumpeter Miles Davis.

It’s been five years and change since Miles put out an album, and the moguls at Columbia records are waiting for his sounds to come back, even a taste of them, so they can proceed making money from this legendary young black man with a horn, who isn’t so young anymore.

Cheadle, writer, director and star, gives us a Miles who danced on the slippery floor of fame, misstepped and fell into a fog of cocaine, heroin and booze.

He is a Miles who is less than a shadow of a once great figure, more a pile of shattered pieces, a smoky figure who lives in a townhouse full of bottles, cocaine smears on assorted mirrors, expensive furniture, gold records and memories. Strewn throughout the film are some short, some long glimpses of the early Miles, arrow collared, clean and neat, already a legend on the horizon with enough fame and gravitas to slip past doormen of the city. This Miles is a cynical young black man of his time, a native of an East St. Louis childhood (some say Alton, but I lived across the river and know better) with all the baggage of midwestern ’20s and ’30s racism. But Miles had his horn and his spiritual gift for music.

“Where did you study music?” he’s asked.

“I just woke up black,” he replies.

Cheadle’s researched life of the horn man is what we get but filtered through a coke-soaked brain and dreams of his imagination. The movie, beautifully done, is clearly a kaleidoscope of remembrances.

There are car chases, shootings in arenas, cop brutalities and marital passion and infidelities. Sometimes it’s like watching a police procedural, or Kirk Douglas’ “Young Man With a Horn” in color, which in some ways was a better movie.

But this is Don Cheadle, an icon of mastery in a cinematic tapestry of the mundane, who is always eminently watchable.

The cast of “Miles Ahead” is indeed a delight: Ewan McGregor as a freelance writer out to write the true story of the man. There is the greatly unappreciated Michael Stuhlbarg as a perfect sleaze bag of a gangster cum producer. Emayatzy Corinealdi is gorgeous and perfect as Frances Taylor, Miles’ dancer wife, whose life, of course, he shatters.

“Miles Ahead” will, perhaps, not be a blockbuster and only attractive to old jazz fans, but Cheadle has told a story here, and that’s what great artists are supposed to do, and of course, he has pushed himself onto the list of candidates for director, actor and writer awards.

I was disappointed in that there isn’t more of Miles’ music, only slipped in here and there, to make sure kids recognize his genius. But then, it’s not an MGM horror musical bio like Cary Grant’s abysmal Cole Porter portrayal.

Roberto Schaefer’s camera is super dark and noirish, full of dark alleys, blue lighted saloons and smoky recording studios, and once again, like Todd Haynes’ “Carol,” makes Cincinnati look sexy and hot. That’s called cine-magic. Important: Gersha Phillips costumes and Korey Washington’s production touches deserve awards of their own.

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor and the author of “Will Write for Food”.

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