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Miles Davis/Various Artists: Miles Ahead: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Enjoyable as it is, the soundtrack album for Don Cheadle’s quasi-biopic Miles Ahead prompts a query common to such releases: For whom, other than completists, is this intended? Not your typical fan, as there are no previously unheard Miles items and some selections are edited (which a few sensitive souls may not be able to abide, despite the bald fact that Teo Macero’s razor blade improved so much of Davis’ recorded output). Novices? Perhaps, but this isn’t exactly the best introduction to the master, although it spreads its net reasonably wide, from 1953’s quartet take of “Miles Ahead” to 1981’s “Back Seat Betty”; “So What” is of course included in its entirety. Given the film’s late-’70s setting, it only makes sense that the six-year period between Filles de Kilimanjaro and Agharta gets the most space. Thrilling stuff, yes-also not a full representation of his art over time.

My best guess: This album’s for anyone who simply wants a good audio souvenir of Cheadle’s fanciful but fun directorial debut. Cool snippets of dialogue from the movie and five non-Miles tracks, most of them featuring keyboardist Robert Glasper, bolster that opinion. Those tracks range from a convincing simulation of Davis’ mid-’70s sound (“Junior’s Jam,” graced with stellar trumpet work by Keyon Harrold) to two intriguing hints at what his music might have sounded like if he’d lived longer: the spirited all-star funk blowout “What’s Wrong With That?” and the more circumspect “Gone 2015,” built around Pharoahe Monch’s incisive rap. Still, it has to be acknowledged that the most gripping moments are vintage recordings, particularly two nasty cuts from the Jack Johnson sessions, “Duran” and “Go Ahead John.”

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