May 26, 2016 would have been Miles Davis' 90th birthday. Though the legendary musician died in 1991 at just 65 years of age, his body of work has hardly left the spotlight. Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings have recently announced two upcoming projects to mark Davis' landmark birthday. First, on Friday, April 1, the labels will issue the soundtrack to the biopic Miles Ahead, directed, co-written by and starring Don Cheadle. Then on May 27, Everything's Beautiful arrives. This release, spearheaded by pianist-producer Robert Glasper, is promised to "incorporate Davis' original recordings into new collaborative soundscapes" by guest artists including Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu and John Scofield.
The soundtrack to Miles Ahead features eleven Davis performances culled from his recordings at both Prestige and Columbia spanning 1956-1981 as well as dialogue excerpts from the film and five original compositions by Robert Glasper. His contributions include "What's Wrong with That?" (a jam that closes the movie imagining Cheadle as Davis playing in the present day with guest performers Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Gary Clark, Jr., Esperanza Spalding and Antonio Sanchez) and "Gone 2015," an end-credits song with a guest turn from rapper Pharoahe Monch.
Glasper, in the press release, explains his vision for the companion release of Everything's Beautiful: "I didn't want to do just a remix record. My idea was to show how Miles inspired people to make new art...I am living in the spirit of Miles when I am doing what I'm doing because I am documenting my time period. I'm documenting what's around me. I'm documenting who I am now, where music is now," commented Glasper. "That's what this project is about. I wanted to do something where we can take some of Miles' ideas, shake them up, and try to show the influence of Miles and make new things. And that's the beauty of this whole album. The whole project is based on Miles, but it is based on Miles' vision, it's based on Miles' trumpet, it's based on Miles' voice, it's based on Miles' composition, it's based on Miles' influence, it's based on Miles' swag."
Joining Glasper on the album's eleven tracks is a diverse array of talents including R&B musicians Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Bilal and KING; British soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula; hip-hop producer Rashad Smith; Grammy-nominated Australian neo-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote, rapper/singer Phonte, rapper/producer Illa J; jazz guitarist John Scofield, who was in Davis' band; and Stevie Wonder.
Miles Ahead: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack arrives from Columbia/Legacy on April 1, while Everything's Beautiful follows on May 27. Both titles will be issued on CD, DD and vinyl LP and can be pre-ordered at the links below!
- Miles Ahead
- Dialogue: "It takes a long time..." (*)
- So What
- Taylor Made - Taylor Eigisti
- Dialogue: "Listen, you talk too goddam much..." (*)
- Solea (excerpt)
- Seven Steps To Heaven (edit)
- Dialogue: "If you gonna tell a story..."(*)
- Nefertiti (edit)
- Frelon Brun
- Dialogue: "Sometimes you have these thoughts..."(*)
- Duran (take 6) (edit)
- Dialogue: "You own my music..."(*)
- Go Ahead John (part two C)
- Black Satin (edit)
- Dialogue: "Be musical about this shit..."(*)
- Prelude #II
- Dialogue: "Y'all listening to them...?(*)
- Junior's Jam - Robert Glasper, Keyon Harrold, Marcus Strickland
- Francessence - Robert Glasper, Keyon Harrold, Elena Pinderhughes
- Back Seat Betty (excerpt)
- Dialogue: "I don't like the word jazz..." (*)
- What's Wrong With That? - Don Cheadle, Robert Glasper, Gary Clark, Jr., Herbie Hancock, Keyon Harrold, Antonio Sanchez, Esperanza Spaulding, Wayne Shorter
- Gone 2015 - Robert Glasper, Keyon Harrold, Pharoahe Monch
(*) from the soundtrack of the film, featuring Don Cheadle as Miles Davis
All other tracks performed by Miles Davis, except where noted
- "Talking Shit"
- "Ghetto Walkin" featuring Bilal
- "They Can't Hold Me Down" featuring Illa J
- "Maiysha (So Long)" featuring Erykah Badu
- "Violets" featuring Phonte
- "Little Church" featuring Hiatus Kaiyote
- "Silence Is The Way" featuring Laura Mvula
- "Song For Selim" featuring KING
- "Milestones" featuring Georgia Ann Muldrow
- "I'm Leaving You" featuring John Scofield and Ledisi
- "Right On Brotha" featuring Stevie Wonder