NEW YORK — Don Cheadle will play Miles Davis in a biopic the actor has long planned on the innovative jazz pioneer.
BiFrost Pictures told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it will finance and produce "Kill the Trumpet Player," with Cheadle also making his directorial debut. Cheadle has been trying to make the film for years, but production is finally set to begin in June.
The production company said the movie won't be a traditional biopic, but will focus on when Davis temporarily retired from making music and then re-emerged in 1979. The script is written by Cheadle and Steven Baigelman.
Ewan McGregor will co-star as a Rolling Stone reporter, and Zoe Saldana will play Frances Davis, the trumpet player's former wife.
The film is being made with the collaboration of Davis' family. Davis collaborator Herbie Hancock will also be involved in the production.
Davis died in 1991 at age 65. -- (AP)
NEW YORK — The NFL, the most popular pro sports league in the U.S., has been shaken by the allegations of racist hazing that have led to the suspension of one member of the Miami Dolphins and the abrupt decision by another player to leave the team and enter counseling.
The case has focused attention on the brutal sport's time-honored practice of teasing, hazing and joking around that happens in the typical National Football League locker room, and has raised questions about whether the tradition goes too far, especially when it comes to the youngest players.
In the case of the Miami Dolphins, players say they've never seen the kind of accusations of out-and-out bullying and harassment at the heart of why second-year player Jonathan Martin suddenly left the team a week ago because of emotional distress. His teammate, veteran Richie Incognito, was suspended indefinitely.
According to two people familiar with the case, the 319-pound (145-kilogram) Incognito, who is white, sent racist and threatening text messages to 312-pound (141-kilogram) Martin, who is biracial. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins and NFL haven't disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Incognito's suspension.
Both men play the position of offensive lineman. Their main job is protecting the team's quarterback, who defended both players Wednesday and said that Martin and Incognito were friendly off the field.
The curtains don't often get pulled back on this sort of thing in the NFL. But when they do they garner quite a bit of attention in a country where even a regular-season NFL game gains higher TV ratings than a World Series baseball game.
The ongoing saga has raised questions about whether Miami coach Joe Philbin and his staff were negligent in allowing issues between Martin and Incognito to fester. Current and ex-players around the NFL say the situation reflects a lack of leadership because teammates of Martin and Incognito didn't intervene. The players' union issued a statement Tuesday saying it expects the NFL and teams to "create a safe and professional workplace for all players."
Martin left the team last week and is with his family in California, where he is undergoing counseling for emotional issues.
NFL officials are trying to determine who knew what when, and whether Incognito, a ninth-year pro, harassed or bullied Martin. A senior partner in a New York law firm with experience in sports cases was appointed Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate possible misconduct in the Dolphins' workplace and prepare a report that will be made public.
Shortly afterward, many Dolphins spoke out about the matter for the first time — and with at least one questioning Martin's motives.
"I don't know why he's doing this," said Tyson Clabo, another offensive lineman. "And the only person who knows why, his name is Jonathan Martin."
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said: "If you had asked Jon Martin a week before who his best friend on the team was, he would have said Richie Incognito. The first guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field, any kind of tussle, Richie was the first guy there. When they wanted to hang out outside of football, who was together? Richie and Jonathan."
Players on other teams recounted stories this week of bringing breakfast sandwiches to players at their position or purchasing trays of food before road trips. But none revealed anything approaching the $15,000 that Martin reportedly coughed up for a Las Vegas trip other players took. Or the types of text messages apparently involved.
Washington veteran Nick Barnett explained that younger players are sometimes stuck with $5,000 dinner tabs. They're told to tote the helmets or pads of older players. Men who are often well above 6-feet (1.8-meters) tall are held down and given unwanted haircuts or get their eyebrows shaved.
"You have different people, different personalities, different cultures in here, and it's not going to be the same as in an accountant's office or Wall Street. Same as our armed forces," Barnett said, standing at his locker after Washington's practice. "But every social setting has its standards, and when (you) cross those standards ... especially with a guy who is 6-something-foot tall, 300 pounds ... not coming to practice because he feels bullied or whatever the case is, now we have an issue."
Several players said they think it's up to players to prevent the behavior that goes beyond good-natured joking.
That, they say, was the failure in Miami.
"I know Jonathan Martin didn't feel comfortable enough to go to any of the guys, because either you're encouraging it or you're just turning a blind eye and allowing the guy to get treated like he was getting treated," Washington veteran London Fletcher said. "And that's the biggest thing that disappointed me. ... There was not a veteran guy strong enough to stop what was happening." -- (AP)
DIX HILLS, N.Y. — In a quiet, tree-lined suburb of New York City sits an unassuming brick ranch house that many musicians consider hallowed ground.
This is where saxophonist John Coltrane composed the epic 1964 jazz masterpiece "A Love Supreme," shortly after moving into the Dix Hills, Long Island, home. Although he only lived there three years — Coltrane died of cancer in 1967 at age 40 — musicians including Carlos Santana and Coltrane's jazz saxophonist son Ravi are among those backing a volunteer effort to turn the dilapidated, four-bedroom house into a museum and learning center.
"The Coltrane Home is a beacon to anyone interested in jazz history, cultural history, African-American history, New York history and American history," Santana said in a statement promoting a Manhattan fundraiser where he helped raise $30,000. The guitar virtuoso has been a Coltrane fan for decades; he released a 1973 album with fellow guitarist John McLaughlin called "Love Devotion Surrender" as a Coltrane tribute."
The move to restore the home began about a decade ago when local jazz enthusiast Steve Fulgoni learned a developer had purchased the 3.5-acre property with plans to demolish the home and build three smaller houses. He organized a lobbying effort to save the home, and eventually Huntington town officials purchased the property from the developer for $975,000 and designated it as a town park.
But town officials told Fulgoni and his supporters — which by then included members of the Coltrane family — that any effort to create a museum would have to be privately funded.
Years of neglect left the home infested with mold and in dire condition, Fulgoni said. However, much of the interior was essentially unchanged from when the Coltranes lived there in the 1960s.
Ron Stein, chief operating officer of Friends of the John Coltrane Home, said that before last month's event, the organization had raised about $120,000, which includes $35,000 in grants from the 1772 Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There also has been about $200,000 of "in kind" donations from architects, electrical contractors, general contractors, mold remediation and other services.
Stein and others say their goal is to raise about $1.5 million. The 50th anniversary of Coltrane's completion of "A Love Supreme" in 2014 has organizers dreaming of opening the house to visitors next year, but Stein conceded that may not be a realistic goal.
He said the support from Santana, Ravi Coltrane and professor and author Cornel West at last month's fundraiser helped spark increased awareness for the project.
"What we need to do is seize the momentum from this recent event and get enough people to realize the importance of this investment, the urgency of making this investment," Stein said. "People here and abroad need to understand the real importance of the Coltranes' legacy."
In 2011, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the house one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. "Although John Coltrane did not set out to write 'A Love Supreme' as a message about civil rights, this seminal work transcended racial barriers and became a symbol of unity at a time when the nation remained greatly divided over the issue of race," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The house features a large meditation room that Coltrane's wife, jazz pianist Alice Coltrane, used for several years until she moved to California in 1973. The basement had a recording studio — long since removed — where the couple performed. Alice Coltrane died in 2006, shortly after meeting with the Long Island group and signing off on restoration efforts, according to Fulgoni.
Last month's event in Greenwich Village sparked some serendipity.
Greta Olsen, a former tenant who had rented a room, took a large stained-glass window that had adorned the meditation room when she moved in 2002. An attorney for the developer said the contents of the house were going to be thrown away, she said, so she was permitted to take the window.
Then she heard a news report about the Santana fundraiser and contacted Fulgoni's group to return the 4-foot-round window.
Olsen, who now lives in nearby Bellport, said she never found a proper place for the window in her home but held onto it nevertheless.
"I was so grateful I was able to return it," she told The Associated Press. "I guess there was a reason why I had this thing. It's a little part of the history."
At last month's fundraiser, West sounded more like a preacher than a Princeton professor as he spoke of his admiration for Coltrane.
"I want to thank all of those who had the courage and the vision to bring us together to make sure the world always understands that John Coltrane embodied love, John Coltrane is courage exemplified; John Coltrane is genius enacted.
"He enriched my life in a way that I do not have words to describe." -- (AP)
NEW YORK — Kanye West's temporarily sidetracked Yeezus tour will kick off again Nov. 16 in Philadelphia.
A Wednesday news release from his publicist says West has rescheduled dates in his hometown of Chicago, as well as Toronto and Detroit. He will have to cancel shows in Vancouver, Denver, Columbus, Ohio, Minneapolis and St. Louis due to logistics.
The rapper's tour kicked off in Seattle last month but was derailed after a large LED screen used in the production was damaged in a traffic accident on the way to Vancouver. Twenty-three dates remain to be played, most with Kendrick Lamar as opener. -- (AP)
NEW YORK — New York City's mayor-elect Bill de Blasio seeks to push ahead with an ambitious liberal agenda aimed at easing the economic inequality that he hammered in his "tale of two cities" campaign, which propelled him to a landslide victory that signaled a break with the 12-year era of billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Voters were drawn to the contrast that the Democratic de Blasio made with Bloomberg, the outgoing mayor whose policies helped make New York one of the nation's safest and most prosperous big cities but also one that has become increasingly stratified between the very rich and the working class.
On Wednesday, de Blasio met privately with Bloomberg at City Hall.
The mayor-elect said he "feels great." When a swarm of media followed him up the City Hall steps, he marveled: "All this, it's incredible."
De Blasio, the city's public advocate, was trouncing Republican rival Joe Lhota 73 to 24 percent in incomplete, unofficial returns that were on pace to post one of the largest routs in the history of the nation's largest city. He will become the first Democratic mayor of New York City in a generation when he take office Jan. 1.
Bloomberg, who first ran as a Republican and later became an independent, guided the city through the U.S. financial meltdown and the aftermath of 9/11. He is leaving office after three terms.
Though polling shows New Yorkers largely approve of Bloomberg's policies, those same surveys revealed the city was hungry for a change.
"Today you spoke loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city," de Blasio told a rollicking crowd of supporters at the YMCA in his home neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, a far cry from the glitzy Manhattan hotel ballrooms that usually host election night parties.
Lhota, a former deputy mayor, spent much of the campaign slamming de Blasio's "tale of two cities" appeal as class warfare and argued that de Blasio's time in the 1980s with the left-wing Sandinistas in Nicaragua as an aid worker and activist made him a Marxist.
De Blasio, 52, reached out to New Yorkers from the city's four outer boroughs, who he contended were left behind by the often Manhattan-centric Bloomberg administration. He pledged to improve economic, educational and quality-of-life opportunities in minority and working-class neighborhoods.
He decried alleged abuses under the police department's stop-and-frisk policy that allows police to question people deemed suspicious. De Blasio enjoyed a surge when a federal judge ruled that police had unfairly singled out blacks and Hispanics.
A white man married to a black woman, de Blasio also received a boost from a campaign ad featuring their son, a 15-year-old with a big Afro hairstyle.
He will need the capital from his commanding victory to tackle his signature campaign promise: to raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers in order to fund universal early education known as pre-kindergarten.
That progressive proposal needs approval from the New York state government, and neither Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who endorsed de Blasio, nor many state lawmakers seem eager to raise taxes as many of them head into a 2014 election year.
He will soon make two key administration posts to further that agenda: a new schools chancellor, and perhaps most pressingly, a new police commissioner. He has not revealed his choice for the top NYPD job but has said he would not retain current Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
De Blasio has pledged to improve community-police relations by reforming stop-and-frisk. Its critics, like de Blasio, believe it unfairly targets minorities while its supporters give it credit for helping drive down crime.
De Blasio comes to office with the backing of most major unions, but they will soon sit at the other end of the negotiating table as the new mayor will be forced to face a major fiscal crisis.
All of the city's municipal unions have expired contracts and many of their leaders are demanding back pay, which could total $7.8 billion, a payout many economists believe would cripple the city's finances. De Blasio has vowed not to negotiate in public but has said retroactive raises could be difficult to produce.
Despite his reputation for idealism, he has also shown a pragmatic side, having worked for both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Cuomo, and was known for closed-door wheeling-and-dealing while serving on the City Council.
Lhota called de Blasio to concede about half an hour after polls Tuesday night.
"It was a good fight and it was a fight worth having," Lhota told a crowd of supporters in a Manhattan hotel. -- (AP)