My Top Ten Favorite Bass Players (w/ Live Videos)

Here’s a music post.

The idea of listing my favorite bass players came about as the result of an almost conversation. You ever start a conversation and don’t get to finish it, so what you wanted to say rolls around in your head for a while? This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. And yes it was a conversation about bass players. I mentioned Charlie Mingus to a young bass player and then it occurred to me later that Charles Mingus isn’t even in my top five. So what’s a blogger to do? I made a list.

esperanza-spalding

These are my favorite bass players throughout popular music. Jazz, Rock, Funk, Pop… the style doesn’t matter. This is purely a list of bad-ass bassists. However, this list doesn’t represent the best bass players of all-time. These are just my personal favorites. So don’t cry to me about technical proficiency or what not.

My apologies go out to Jaco, Claypool, Sting, McCartney, Sheehan, Clark, Jones, Flea, Esperanza and Ron Carter. You guys just didn’t make the cut.

So who did make the list?

Let’s get to it. To the list…

MY TOP TEN FAVORITE BASS PLAYERS

Ladies first. Only one female made the list. Here is a list of some of the best women bass players. It’s a good compiling. But on this list there was only room for one.

10. Tina Weymouth (the genius of love)

tina-weymouth

The only woman on the list, Tina Weymouth was a large part of what made Talking Heads such a fun group. She is the master of the fun bass-line. With Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club or Gorillaz. Tina is awesome. She makes me happy. Technical proficiency be damned. The girl makes me happy.

Then we get even more progressive…

9. Geddy Lee (the maestro of metal)

geddy-lee

Geddy Lee is the bassist and lead singer of the band Rush. I’m not the biggest Rush fan. My older brother was way too into Rush for me to take them seriously. He was a drummer, so like all drummers in the late 70’s, he worshiped at the altar of Neil Peart. But what Rush lacked creatively, Rush more than made up for with technical proficiency. So yeah Geddy Lee makes my list.

Rush starts this one off with a little Rolling Stones tease, but they mean well. I really wanted to post Subdivisions as an example of his work but he spends more time on keys than on bass in that song. (even though the bass part is fucking killer)

Next…

8. Tony Levin (doctor funky fingers)

tony-levin

Tony Levin plays in Peter Gabriel’s band. He is a master of the Chapman stick bass and the funk fingers (he plays with sticks on his fucking fingers). And he makes this list because of all the times I’ve seen Peter in concert, Tony Levin has been the highlight. The man kicks that bass’s ass. And yeah he’s played with EVERYBODY on TONS of albums. But it’s his work with Peter that lands him here.

Next a Rock classic

7. Jack Bruce (the cream of the crop)

jack-bruce

This was a surprise to me but when I thought about the best bass players I had to consider Jack Bruce who has quietly played bass on some of the coolest records of his time. So some of these guys are up here purely for laying down some of the most classic bass-lines of all time.

Here’s Cream.

Now we get to Mingus…

6. Charles MIngus (the angry man of jazz)

charles-mingus

The professor of the Big Band Swing. Grand-master of the double bass. Played with the great Charlie Parker. Disciple of the amazing Duke Ellington. And did a little record called Blue Moods with Miles Davis. You can’t count bassists without Mingus.

Here he is putting his own spin on an Ellington classic.

Let’s keep the jazz flowing…

5. Paul Chambers (the anchor of the gods)

paul-chambers

Speaking of Miles Davis. The master had a couple of classic crews (Quintets, Sextets) but my favorites will always be his first great quintet/sextet including Paul Chambers on bass. Red Garland on piano. Philly Joe Jones on drums. John Coltrane on tenor saxophone. Cannonball Adderly on alto. And Miles on Trumpet.

miles-davis-and-paul-chambers

This crew made several of my favorite recordings of all-time.

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue taking the top spot.

Here’s a televised performance of So What from that album.

And now I explain why disco does not suck…

4. Bernard Edwards (the rhythm of the boogie to be)

nile-rodgers-and-bernard-edwards

Speaking of some of the most iconic bass-lines of all time. Along with Nile Rodgers on guitar and Tony Thompson on drums, Bernard Edwards was a member of the 70’s disco band Chic. As well as dropping their own hits, they were the backing band on numerous late 70’s and early 80’s number one songs. And by the mid 80’s, Bernard Edwards bass-lines were sampled by some of the greatest rap groups and scratched by some of the earliest DJ pioneers. Okay… one in particular. But honestly it’s the most famous bass-line of all-time. Bernard Edwards died of pneumonia in 1996 much too young.

This is his final concert. They said he was too sick to play but he insisted. A professional to the end. It’s a little hard to watch. He doesn’t look well. Sounds great.

Back to the classic rock…

3. John Paul Jones (the hammer of the gods)

john-paul-jones

Led Zeppelin is one of my favorite music groups (right after that Miles sextet I mentioned) And it’s because they were all so amazingly talented and masters at their individual crafts. People talk about Jimmy Page and John Bonham as two of the best in the business but it was John Paul Jones who held those two volcanic entities together.

This is The Song Remains The Same. Try to ignore their bare chests (if you can). Try to ignore the large bulge in Robert Plant’s jeans (if you can). These are four artists at the height of their (sexual) power and they’re having fun.

This is a 10 minute jam song from 1969 starting with one of the most iconic bass lines in history. These are 10 minutes well-spent. This is Dazed and Confused…

And next up… “Clyde on the drums… Bootsy on the bass goodtar.”

2. Bootsy Collins (star child, the funk behind the godfather)

bootsy-collins

As a member of Parliament/Funkadelic, Bootsy helped redefine the funk genre into an inter-galactic jam session. The bass-line from Parliament’s Flashlight is the funkiest shit ever recorded. You know how people like to sing along with their favorite songs? When Flashlight is playing I sing along with the bass. I couldn’t find a good live version that featured Bootsy Collins. They had a bunch of different line-ups.

But honestly the stuff he did with James Brown in the late 60’s, early 70’s is why he makes this list. Funky and tight and did I mention funky as all hell..

bootsy-collins-and-james-brown

Here’s some of that. Not the best video but as James says, “Watch my shoes.”

And here’s a 30 minute version of Flashlight (the funkiest bass-line in music history) with Rodney Curtis on bass. (the man is no Bootsy but he’s also no slouch)

And at number one…

1. Israel “Cachao” Lopez (the father of the mambo)

israel-cachao-lopez

There’s not a lot I can say except the man is amazing. Creator of the mambo. The jam master. I don’t know if you noticed from this list but I love a good jam session. Cachao is the master of the Cuban jam session. Hell he created that shit.

cachao

Here he is with Tito Puente (a personality I find grating). Tito introduces the man (eventually) and then the two jam out for a bit before doing Oye Como Va (with the band) while Tito mugs for the audience. Honestly this clip would be brilliant if Tito would just play the drums and not be all… Tito.

And here is Cachao doing more of what he does best, improvising and jamming out. He’s a little older in this clip but as you can see the man can still jam.

And that’s my list…

I’d like to thank YouTube for making it nearly impossible to find good clips. And I’d also like to thank the devious musicians who hijack search terms just to get you to listen to their crap. Whatever works for you but… you’re not making any friends.

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COMING SOON TO THE BLOG

More Music.

More Movie Reviews.

Winter TV Shows.

An updated Bisexual TV Characters for 2017.

The long-awaited return of Photos From Around The Block.

And much more.

Stay tuned.

– Mel

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Spared or Spoiled Movie Reviews: La La Land

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

La La Land (Summit Entertainment)

la-la-land-poster

Written & Directed by Damien Chazelle

Music by Justin Hurwitz

Choreography by Mandy Moore

Starring Ryan GoslingEmma StoneJohn Legend & Rosemarie DeWitt

La La Land is a straight-forward musical romance that is not as good as people are making it out to be, but much better than it actually should be. It is excruciatingly cute and cuddly and smile-inducing. I nearly hurt my face smiling so much. The choreography is whimsical and the songs are passable. But the ending… the ending is sensational. Go see La La Land before the bloom is off the rose.

Verdict: SPARED

ryan-gosling-and-emma-stone-in-la-la-land

I really liked La La Land. I think I smiled all the way through from the 2nd musical number until I started crying at the end. It is your very basic boy meets girl yada yada yada story. And because there is not much to it, besides your basic romance formula, it made me wonder what people were seeing in it. Seriously, why so much hype?

emma-stone-and-ryan-gosling-in-la-la-land

But I’ll tell you what I think they were seeing… Emma Stone’s amazingly graceful dancing. Ryan Gosling’s surprisingly good singing. And two incredible performances. But mostly the second film in a row that Damien Chazelle has knocked it out the bloody park. Whiplash was fabulous. And La La Land continues the string.

la-la-land

Ryan Gosling is surprisingly good in La La Land. I have never been a fan of his. Here he plays a Jazz Pianist who refuses to sell out his art for the money (or success for that matter). His character is a frustrating look at the artistic purist.

ryan-gosling-in-la-la-land

And Emma Stone… She gets better with every role she takes. Here her dancing is the primary element. Her movements are sublime. I hope she dances in everything. She’s always had this commanding stage presence but who knew she could move like an angel. And glide like a… totally different angel. She plays an aspiring actress and writer who gets no respect at auditions and in her day job on the Warner Brothers lot.

emma-stone-in-la-la-land

These two, young artists, start an on-screen romance. And there’s not much else in terms of plot. La La Land is pretty straight forward. Romance, relationship, conflict, resolution. But the ending is magical. I cried. I won’t tell you what kind of tears for those of you who haven’t seen it. But they were very salty.

la-la-land-planetarium-dance

La La Land brings to mind Woody Allen at his early 80’s romantic best. Billy Wilder in his 1950’s funniest. And Old Hollywood at its late 20’s musical finest. And I would be surprised if it isn’t on Broadway in about 10 years. Even though the music isn’t the best part, La La Land would still make a good Broadway show. Because of the dancing. The choreography is outstanding. And like I said before, Emma Stone glides across the screen making us fall in love with each angelic step.

la-la-land-dancing-gif

La La Land doesn’t completely live up to the hype. I still don’t see the big deal. It’s a rehash of the depression era musical. A great escape from these degenerate times. But I loved it. It’s fun and magical and romantic. And I enjoyed it profusely.

– Mel

Eight Songs That Make Me Happy

This is a public service announcement… with guitar.

When I suffered from depression music was always my escape. When I was little it was silly songs. There was this Flintstones album in the public library that I wore out. When I was a teenager it was angry songs. Rock, Metal, Punk. Gangsta Rap. By High School and University I was wallowing in depression with dark songs, moody songs, or just some good old blues. But we’re not going to wallow in it today. Not getting angry. Or being silly. We’re going straight to happy.

woo-hoo

“Woo hoo!!”

We do this meditation in the Buddhist traditions where we wish for people to be happy. We think about people we know being happy. How everyone, all over the world, wants to be free from suffering. And why everyone has a desire to be happy. And then we form the resolution in our minds that we are going to make them all happy with our thoughts, with our actions, with our wishes, with our words

And with our blogs.

Yes Buddha does mention blogs in the Sutras. You just have to find the right translation.

snoopy-happy-dance

January 20th, 2017 is fast approaching and we all know what that means. President Donald Tr… I still can’t say it. So it’s easy to let it get you down. But I say screw that.

These songs are my surefire depression busters. I’m calling it my eight-fold path to dancing in your underwear before the world burns.

It’s a temporary fix. But it’ll help you take your mind off of it.

So these eight songs (lyrics included) are designed to put the happy back where it belongs. In your feet. In your butt. And in your face. And none of them are by Pharrell.

happy-minions

“Yebey!!”

Here we go…

First up… Crooning with a smile.

Feeling Good by Michael Buble

“It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life. It’s a new life for me…”

———————————-

Next… Some Attitude.

Troublemaker by Weezer

“I’m such a special guy.”

————————————-

And now a personal favorite… I love this guitar riff and this video and Morrissey’s dance moves alone make me very happy.

What Difference Does It Make by The Smith

All men have secrets and here is mine
So let it be known
For we have been through hell and high tide
I think I can rely on you…
And yet you start to recoil
Heavy words are so lightly thrown
But still I’d leap in front of a flying bullet for you

So, what difference does it make?
So, what difference does it make?
It makes none
But now you have gone
And you must be looking very old tonight

The devil will find work for idle hands to do
I stole and I lied, and why?
Because you asked me to!
But now you make me feel so ashamed
Because I’ve only got two hands
Well, I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

So, what difference does it make?
Oh, what difference does it make?
Oh, it makes none
But now you have gone
And your prejudice won’t keep you warm tonight

Oh, the devil will find work for idle hands to do
I stole, and then I lied
Just because you asked me to
But now you know the truth about me
You won’t see me anymore
Well, I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

But no more apologies
No more, no more apologies
Oh, I’m too tired
I’m so sick and tired
And I’m feeling very sick and ill today
But I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

Oh, my sacred one…
Oh…

—————————————–

Now here’s a song about self -love and just being a good neighbor.

Satellite Mind by Metric

Hold it I’m about to drop off
Let me tell you my last thought
Drift into a deep fog
Lost where I forgot to hold it
I can feel you most when I’m alone

Coming home cause I want to
Hang out with a starlet
Stare out at the ceiling
Preview of a screening
Flashback of a feeling
Sixth sense of the call and
I heard you fuck through the wall
I heard you fuck

When I’m bored
I send vibrations
In your direction
From the satellite mind

I’m not suicidal
I just can’t get out of bed
I drift into a deep fog
Lost where I forgot to hold it
I can feel you when I’m alone
I can fell your ghost when I’m alone

Coming home cause I want to
Hang out with a starlet
Stare out at the ceiling
Preview of a screening
Flashback of a feeling
Sixth sense of the call and
I heard you fuck through the wall
I heard you fuck

When I’m bored
I send vibrations
In your direction
From the satellite mind

When your voice
Became vibrations
From the satellite mind

It sounded like mine

——————————————–

Next… A happy tune about getting everything you could ever want for just one dollar. (make sure to read the fine print)

Step Right Up by Tom Waits

“Only a dollar. Step right up.”

—————————————-

Next… Denial (but with an infectious melody)

Everything’s Just Wonderful by Lily Allen

“Oh well I guess I mustn’t grumble. I suppose that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”

———————————————-

Next up.. a little more self-love (of the less erotic kind)

i (love myself) by Kendrick Lamar

“The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs. But it can do what it want, whenever it want, I don’t mind.”

————————————————

And lastly… The happiest bass-line in the world.

Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz

City’s breaking down on a camel’s back.
They just have to go ’cause they don’t know whack
So all you fill the streets it’s appealing to see
You won’t get out the county, ’cause you’re bad and free
You’ve got a new horizon it’s ephemeral style.
A melancholy town where we never smile.
And all I want to hear is the message beep.
My dreams, they’ve got to kiss, because I don’t get sleep, no
Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Love forever hand in hand
Taking it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Laughing gas these hazmats, fast cats,
Lining them up like ass cracks,
Ladies, homies, at the track
Its my chocolate attack.
Shit, I’m stepping in the heart of this here
Care bear bumping in the heart of this here
Watch me as I gravitate
Hahahahahahaa.
Yo, we gonna go ghost town,
This motown,
With yo sound
You’re in the place
You gonna bite the dust
Can’t fight with us
With yo sound
You kill the INC.
So don’t stop, get it, get it
Until you’re cheddar header.
Yo, watch the way I navigate

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Love forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Don’t stop, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady, watch me navigate,
Ahahahahahhaa.
Don’t stop, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady, watch me navigate

Hahahahaha


I love you guys.

Remember to smile even when you don’t feel like it because it will probably make someone else smile and then someone else… traveling from person to person and before you know it you’ll see your original smile on someone else’s face.

And then you’ll smile for real.

– Mel

2016 Year-End Music Lists (MEGA POST)

I don’t do enough music posts.

Hear is a list of my top ten favorite songs from 2016

And a list of my favorite albums from 2016 (or 2015 if I bought it this year)

My music tastes have shifted slightly. I like a lot more pop now which is weird because I was heavy into poop (I mean pop) when I was an infant but through the years it’s gotten so bad that it became hard to listen to. It’s come full circle now. It’s not as gimmicky as in the 90’s or as teeny bop as it got in the 00’s (aughts). Pop is back and all over the song list. The albums are a little more varied.

Also rap has gotten better. But I’m gonna be honest with you. Rap was shit to begin with. It represented some powerful things but musical integrity and artistry was not one of those things. Rap has evolved nicely… musically. The lyrics still ain’t about shit tho.

Here are my favorite songs.

Top Ten Favorite Songs From 2016

Just the music for each ALL AUDIO (this is a music list for heaven’s sake not a dance contest) but if I find a seriously smoking live version… I can’t help myself.

The first one is a heart-breaker. Just beautiful.

#10 Heart Shaped Face by Angel Olsen

Next Lady Gaga (who I can barely stand but this is infectious). No video. No live performance because the less of her antics the better. The song speaks for it self. Raw and bare and catchy as hell.

#9 A-YO by Lady Gaga

Next up Drake, who is really (surrounded by) more talented (people) than he gets credit for. I like this song. I like more of his stuff than I care to admit. No video. No audio. No nothing. Because Drake ain’t having it. And the guy is nothing if not full of himself.

#8 Still Here by Drake

No Audio.

See.

Told ya.

Nothing.

But anyway… Here’s Anderson .Paak (with a special guest getting down on number seven) to fill in the empty space.

#7 Room In Here by Anderson .Paak

Yeah that was tasty as all fucking hell but here’s a live version that’s just nasty… I told you people years ago… Anderson .Paak is about to bloooooow.

Next a David Bowie song that is one of his best and sadly one of his last. Here is Michael C. Hall doing a killer version of Lazarus on The Late Show.

#6 Lazarus by David Bowie

Next I want to point out that Rihanna put out her best album this year. She is maturing as an artist quite nicely. Her last three albums have been amazing. But ANTI is her best. Here’s my favorite song off of that. I like when she sticks to her island roots. She’s another one with antics on top of antics. Let the music speak for itself, woman.

#5 Work by Rihanna

Told you my songs list was heavy on the pop.

Okay here’s some more. I love this woman she made one of the best albums of the year and if not for two of the most talented people on the planet eclipsing her this would be my number one song.

#4 Influence by Tove Lo

Okay this is where it gets tricky. I’m skipping ahead to number two. Don’t ask why. It’s my blog that’s why. This is the number two best song from last year it’s by Childish Gambino (or Donald Glover as it says on his license). And in case you haven’t been paying attention, this dude is one of my favorite artists (period). This new album is AMAZING. This guy is a rapper… This is not rap at all. This is a work of ART.

#2 Me and Your Mama by Childish Gambino

The reason I skipped number three is because numbers three and one go together sooooo well. I’m not even a big Beyoncé fan. This is the second and third cut on what is undoubtedly one of the best albums of all time. I know. I know. Everybody knows this already. But I don’t even like her. Not Destiny’s Child. Not nothing. Never have. Lemonade is one of the best albums of all-time.

Hold Up (number three) brings in that island feel that I like so much. And yes because you can’t separate the music from the art installation that she attached it to (even though you totally can) here is the video. It rocks.

And yes Don’t Hurt Yourself is NUMBER ONE. And it features one of my favorite songwriters of all-time the great Jack White. (Zeppelin fans will recognize the drum opening from the song. He’s a big Jimmy Page disciple) There is no video and no audio. So I will end the list with number three.

#1 Don’t Hurt Yourself by Beyoncé 

No Audio

#3 Hold Up by Beyoncé

So that was kind of anti-climactic (thanks YouTube)

And here are my favorite albums

Top Ten Favorite Albums of 2016

Of course most of these artists are featured in my songs list but where they are not I try to include my favorite cut off the album as a little sample of their work. But being on this list means that I think that at least half of the songs on their latest album are perfect. Not just good. PERFECT.

#10 Fetty Wap by Fetty Wap 

fetty-wap

This is a beautiful example of the beauty of Trap Music (from 2015, late again). Tight and rhythmic and dramatic and syncopated and nasty… lyrics notwithstanding. Fetty Wap is Trap. Trap is Fetty Wap. If you don’t know Trap, this is a good place to start.

Trap is like Horror Movie theme chords with nasty hi-hat & tight snare over the top and some deep bass shaking you to your core (you have to say that like qquwwwore)

#9  I Like It When You Sleep… by The 1975 

the-1975

Cinematic and poetic and some of the best catchiest hooks and riffs and writing this side of Duran Duran, INXS, Early Third Eye Blind. But with poetry that makes those guys seem trite and hokey. The 1975 is deep. These lyrics pack a punch.

If you’re not crying after that, you need to listen to it again.

#8 Beauty Behind The Madness by The Weeknd 

the-weeknd

If Michael had a crown The Weeknd should have it sent out and fitted to his big fucking head because this is the new king of pop. No joke. (again 2015 but I’m slow you know)

Highlight: Dark Times (feat. Ed Sheeran)

No Audio.

#7 ANTI by Rihanna

anti-rihanna

I recognize that her sex appeal is off the charts but so is her talent and this album is amazing. Her best so far… pain and perfection and pain and perfection.

#6 Blackstar by David Bowie

david-bowie-blackstar

This is not some posthumous, throw some accolades in his fucking grave, platitude. Blackstar is a fantastic last album and heartrendingly poignant and beautiful and prophetic. David Bowie goes out on top. An amazing artist to the end.

#5 Sometimes I Sit And Think… by Courtney Barnett 

courtney-barnett

Yes I know this is also from 2015 but it took a while to get to me from Melbourne, Australia. This is a rock album on par with the best from Pretenders, Lou Reed, Early U2 and Talking Heads. But this woman, Courtney Barnett, can write her ass off better than any of those acts. I kid you not.

Check this shit out.

Raw, powerful, genuine. I love this sound.

#4 Lady Wood by Tove Lo 

lady-wood

Tove Lo is an extremely talented Swedish singer who totally worships Madonna. You can hear it in everything she does, except she’s much better than Madonna ever was… and Madonna was amazing for a while. Tove Lo is honest and raw and dirty and infinitely dance-able and incredibly fuck-able. And I love the title.

#3 Malibu by Anderson .Paak

anderson-paak-malibu

With each release, Anderson .Paak comes more and more into his own, into his talent. He ain’t even fully formed yet. He’s like that pie baking in the oven that’s ALMOST done but not quite. I mean the smell is all over the neighborhood and it’s beautiful and it’s funky as all hell. But give it a minute. The best is yet to come but I’m salivating now.

#2 Lemonade by Beyoncé

lemonade

SURPRISE. That’s right, friends, one of the best albums of all-time is only the second best album of last year. But yeah Beyoncé hit it out the park. Who knew emotional pain and turmoil was good for songwriting? Everybody. Everybody knew that shit.

So that means the number one album of 2016 has to be…

Drum roll please…

#1  Awaken My Love by Childish Gambino

childish-gambino-awaken-my-love

And why? Because of the courage. This is a rapper. An established act with a major following and he just released one of the funkiest R&B albums I have ever heard. He has always been the hook master. And he has always been the lyrics master. Now he is the funk master. If this isn’t up for album of the year I’m gonna send the Music Academy two thousand and sixteen hearing aids with the sound turned all the way up and the knob broken. But seriously, he’s way too talented. There’s a limit, dude.

I’m gonna end with this song. It’s kinda silly but very cool.

And that’s my music wrap-up for the year.

Have a

Happy New Year

Everybody.

– Mel

Impressions on Miles Ahead (a film by Don Cheadle)

Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles

What follows are my first impressions of the movie Miles Ahead. I watched it and immediately wrote this down. I usually write a review and post it here on my blog when I get a chance. But I didn’t do that this time. I wrote this.

Miles Ahead (Sony Pictures Classics)

Miles Ahead Poster

Directed by Don Cheadle

Written by Steven Baigleman, Don Cheadle, Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson

Starring Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregorEmayatzy CorinealdiLaKeith Lee Stanfield & Michael Stuhlbarg

Impressions.

From Jazz. To Fizz. To Junk. To Funk.

Don Cheadle in Miles Ahead

Like the man’s music it flowed through variations on a theme. Chopin. Chopin. Different eras in the life of a man. Interconnected. Interspersed. The work of a god. Pretty. Ugly. Inconsistent. Drugs and violence and mental illness. Cool and cruel and beauty’s bitch. Love’s fool. Forever love’s fool.

Miles Ahead Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor

Music’s master and her slave and her master again. But what difference does it make? Really. Nasty. Like just all kinds of nasty. But GORGEOUS. Gorgeous and engorged. Like the throbbing musicianship on some of the best music ever made. By master craftsmen. With craftsmanship. And artistry.

Miles Ahead Miles

Early Spike Lee without the bullshit. Melvin Van Peebles without the n-word. Nigger Poetry mixed with prose and professionals like Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor and film-making like Godard. Jean Luc fucking Godard. Like music on film. Sketches of Spain. Kind of Blue but also kind of red and black and pink and pink and flesh. And gorgeous.

Miles Ahead

You made a portrait of the man where all the ugly still shows. And it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. But it’s hard to look at times. And he’s hard to hear. The hidden notes within the charts. And I could barely understand it all. Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” All the elements that make up the dream and the life and the work of art. Dripping paint on the canvas like blood on the ropes.

Don Cheadle from Miles Ahead

A fighter who isn’t down for the count. He’s far from out. A punch in the face. A standing eight count. A cold splash. A warm breeze. A single note. A wake up call to those of us stuck in a rut. Reliving the past failures. And fearing the future. The parts that gradually make up the hole. From the whole.

Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor in Miles Ahead

First a scratch. Then a screech. Now a scream. An impossible scream. A scream in A flat minor. A scream from the bottom of a deep dark. A scream from a place where beauty falls and fails and never screams again. A scream from a hole a thousand Miles wider than the horizon. A beautiful musical dancing scream from the movie screen.

Miles and Trane from Miles Ahead

“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” – Miles

– Mel