"Miles Ahead" (Columbia/Sony Music/Legacy)
Rating: **** (music performance & sonic quality)
Released Today, April 1st, 2016, in the USA, to coincide with the opening of the film in LA & NY
Soundtrack album produced by Don Cheadle, Steve Berkowitz, Ed Gerrard & Robert Glasper
Executive producers: Don Cheadle, Erin Davis, Darryl Porter & Vince Wilburn for Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment
See complete tracklist below
A very cool record that's way more than just a set of songs strung together for a film – and instead a well-done album that mixes older Miles Davis material, both classic and rare, with new tracks handled by the mighty keyboardist Robert Glasper, plus a few bits of dialogue from the film, spoken by actor Don Cheadle who plays Miles' role.
Glasper steps out on a great way on his tracks – four new numbers, three of which are in a very Miles mode – with Keyon Harrold on trumpet on those tracks – and a shifting range of additional players that includes Herbie Hancock (keyboards), Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Esperanza Spaulding (bass), and Kendrick Scott (drums). Glasper plays Fender Rhodes and his titles include "Junior's Jam", "Francessence", "What's Wrong With That", and "Gone 2015" – the last of which also features an appearance from Pharoahe Monch.
Even the Miles tracks are well-handled – not just the familiar ones, but also some rare material from album sessions brought together to make a well-rounded package, with titles that include "So What", "Solea (excerpt)", "Prelude #2", "Back Seat Betty (excerpt)", "Black Satin (edit)", "Go Ahead John (part 2 C)", "Frelon Brun", and "Duran (take 6 edit)."
The release of the movie MILES AHEAD, Don Cheadle's wildly entertaining and moving exploration of Miles Davis, will be accompanied by this new soundtrack featuring musical highlights from Miles' career and new recordings overseen by Grammy Award-winning jazz/hip-hop artist Robert Glasper.
This is a perfect primer on Davis' career for the new fan and a brilliant audio keepsake of the film for those who've studied his works inside and out. The album features 11 tracks from across Miles' catalogue from 1956 to 1981, select dialogue from the film featuring Cheadle in character, and five original compositions written, co-written, produced or performed exclusively for MILES AHEAD by Robert Glasper.
These cues include "What's Wrong with That?" a jam that closes the movie imagining Cheadle as Miles playing in the present day with guest performers Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Gary Clark, Jr. and Esperanza Spalding; plus "Gone 2015," an end-credits song featuring guest verses from rapper Pharoahe Monch. Cheadle also pens new liner notes for the album discussing the selection and creation of the songs on the soundtrack.