- - Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
- So we're diving back into the Grammys for this year! We'll start things off with this soundtrack for "Miles Ahead," a Don Cheadle movie following Miles' life and music. Nope, I have not seen the movie, but that's what Google searches are for.
This is a time-jumping movie apparently, following the stories as told to a music reporter. The soundtrack similarly skips between Davis' original tracks and covers done by other artists. Let's see how it all shakes down.
The soundtrack/movie title track starts off with "Miles Ahead," launching with the familiar jazz sound of the trumpet playing out. This is Miles himself, fittingly. I forget how enjoyable light jazz can be until you can listen to it in a relaxing setting like home. The piano takes over about halfway through, and while everything may be somewhat planned, the feel of iprovisation is really great.
Quickly, Don Cheadle chimes in with a one-liner in "Dialogue: It takes a long time..." and we're taken into the next track (again, Miles himself) with "So What." Much more rythmic and steady, this one has an executed plan of attack and beats. The unpredictable nature is gone for the most part. It's not bad by any means, but the sense of attack is a whole different kind of jazz feel. Even as the sax seems to take back up the improv nature, it feels much harsher and loud, controlling the song more than playing it along.
"Taylor Made" takes things in a different direction, with Taylor Eigisti taking just a minute on the piano and impale the senses in a completely different way. Soon though, Don is back with "Dialogue: "Listen, you talk too goddamn much..." as he yells at what I would imagine is the engineer as he tries to record (accompanied by Phil Schaap. That bit of agrument and frustration plays out in the next Davis track, "Solea - excerpt." This is harsh on the ears, and not at all in the realm of smooth. It's a minute of really scratching, minor notes, leading into a marching rhythm of an almost latin-esq tune.
We seem to pick the mood back up with "Seven Steps to Heaven - Edit," with a much faster pacing and party style. Seems like whatever funk Miles had hit, he's pulling out of it now. This begs the question of what is happening in the movie at this point, as the soundtrack seems to be tellig its own story along the way.
"Dialogue: If you're gonna tell a story..." switches gears as Don gives songwriting advise about coming in with an attitude - something I don't totally get out of the follow up song "Nefertiti - Edit." Or maybe it's a sullen attitude, not necessarily the type that we're used to associating with that word. Either way, this track is a smooth horn duet, almost borderlining a larger band scale sound. This trend is continued into "Frelon brun." It's sort of astounding to realize, let alone hear, the range of a jazz musician. We're aware of genres within country and rock, but this one doesn't as often hit.
I do like how the dialogue tracks break this up into portion, so you can follow along a bit more. "Dialogue: Sometimes you have these thoughts..." brings us into "Duran - Take 6 Edit." And again, we have a shift in style. This is more smokey, back corner of the club music. The bass is keeping beat, and we're left to feel it through.
Instead of another track, we're into "Dialogue: You own my music..." and into yet another musical shift. This is funk now, which I suppose could easily be another version of jazz. It's a little messy, but maybe that's what makes it more special. This, by the way, is "Go head John - part two C." I would even venture to point out that there are a few more electronic elements as we go through now, just a sign of the ever-changing times and themes. And my point is proven as I'm woken up to the ethnic beats of "Black Satin - Edit." I need to see this movie to understand, clearly. I've never felt so ill-educated on a performer.
"Dialogie: Be musical about this shit..." seems to give some kind of perspective, and this time "Prelude, Pt. 2" comes into play with a different production style. I wouldn't say it's far off from the musical stylings that we've been blated into the past couple of tracks, but the recording is different, using reverb and mic placement in different ways for different sounds. Fascinating.
We seem to come back to the funk and more ear-pleasing style after "Dialogue: Y'all listening to them..." where we're told this is how this shit is supposed to sound. Robert Glasper takes over with the track to emmulate that in "Junior's Jam." It still contains a few meniulated sound elements, but it feels like a more familiar and comfortable style. He seems to keep this going into "Francessence," but now adding a flute to the melody, which is just further evidence of genre growth.
Miles Davis comes back in for "Back Seat Betty," reclaiming the master's throne as he combines the stylings that seemed to all have popped up in the past few tracks. There's new instruments, beats, and production choices happening all around, and it's about now you can take a step back and see how far we've come. I guess Don puts it well with the excerpt clip of "Dialogue: I don't like the word jazz..." (Ewan McGregor is on that one too), because that's clearly where we're at by now. Robert Glasper closes us back out with "What's Wrong With That?" (not currently available Spotify), and then with a clear remix and update on "Gone 2015." For the first time on the album, we have lyrics, and the story of where we are from where we've come.
- "Go Ahead John - part two C"
- "Junior's Jam"
This was really interesting, and served its purpose in a backwards way. Typically you hear the soundtrack after you've seen the film, but obviously that's not how it worked out for me. This was its own separate journey and experience, and I think I almost preferred to do it this way. Now I want to see the film.
Mile Davis is hailed as a legend and influencetial figure, and after hearing this growth and change throughout a career exploration, I can absolutely understand and appreciate why.