Full Title: “Robert Glasper on Remixing Miles Davis, How Jazz Invented ‘Swagger’ (via Rolling Stone)”
“Don Cheadle was not going to make a conventional biopic when he set out to direct Miles Ahead, his recent film about Miles Davis’ mid-Seventies lost years. “Make some mistakes, go crazy, crash into a wall – anything but something fucking cookie-cutter,” the actor-director told Rolling Stone of his liberally fictionalized narrative. Pianist and producer Robert Glasper – who scored Cheadle’s film and makes a cameo near the end — took a similar approach to Everything’s Beautiful, a new album that features his reworking of Miles Davis material from the Sony vaults.
Artists have remixed Davis in the past, but Glasper was after something different. In recent years, the pianist has established himself as a master of the territory where jazz, hip-hop and R&B overlap, appearing on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and calling on his many talented friends to assist on eclectic albums such as 2012’s Grammy-winning Black Radio. The Everything’s Beautiful cast includes MCs, singers and instrumentalists, who help Glasper – acting more as producer than player here – create entirely new songs using elements from Davis’ original recordings. North Carolina rapper Phonte riffs on the title of classic Kind of Blue ballad “Blue in Green” on “Violets,” while rhyming over a Bill Evans piano sample from a false-start take of the tune; Erykah Badu turns the extended 1974 jam “Maiysha” into a cool bossa nova breakup song; and Stevie Wonder offers a lilting harmonica version of the Wayne Shorter-penned theme from 1968’s “Nefertiti” on “Right On Brotha.”“