REVIEW | Miles Davis & Robert Glasper - Everything Is Beautiful
Miles Davis & Robert Glasper
Whilst shuffling through the record, listening to bits and pieces without listening to it as a full body of work, at times you could quite easily assume it's a jazz hip hop record with 'Violets' and 'They Can't Hold Me Down'. Other times the strong thick vocals makes it feel more like a soul jazz record (with Soul being the more prominent sound). You have smooth vocals from the likes of Laura Mvula, Erykah Badu, KING and Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote.
Dancing through a myriad of sounds, Robert Glasper has really let his featuring artists and producers take full control of each track, making it their own. As mentioned by Glasper on the inside of the cover, he really does explore "many landscapes and ideas". Listening to each song, there was never any confusion about who was featuring on it, Stevie Wonders track had that soulful funk that made it an obvious Stevie Wonder track we hear the harmonica moving well with the productions of DJ Spinna and Chris Rob. Hiatus Kaiyote's track had the ethereal angelic vocals of Nai Palm layered on top of a wonderful arrangement that sounded very 'Hiatus Kaiyote' with flutes, and a distinctive drum. Erykah Badu, brought us that Hip Hop fused with Jazz wrapped in Soul, whilst KING harmonised in the ways that we love. Their identities wasn't lost in Glaspers production, which served well for the album.
One feature on the album was the sampling of Miles Davis talking. When thinking of Miles Davis voice you may think of that raspy rough sound, and you'd possibly assume that it's a sound that can't be used in the way that Glasper has. But he used it. In this record his voice sounds almost instrument like, and it brought its own texture to the sound.
All this being said, I think to some this may be a disappointing album. Sometimes it doesn't hold much depth and has simple productions that does nothing sonically for the album. For example, the simple production in the song 'I'm Leaving You', adds minimal colour to the album, with the repetition of Davis saying "Wait a minute.". It sounds basic and not quite ready for the album.
Overall, the album is great. With particular favourites of mine being 'Right On Brotha', 'Ghetto Walkin' and 'Silence Is The Way'. It honoured the work of Miles Davis, whilst bringing it's own groove to the table.