Miles Davis is enjoying a renaissance in 2016. The jazz titan, easily one of the most pivotal music figures of the 20th century, would've been 90 years old this year, and he's already received a fitting tribute in Don Cheadle's labor of love film, Miles Ahead. Then a few weeks ago, Robert Glasper, who was responsible for that film's soundtrack, released a compilation of re-imagined Davis tracks, Everything's Beautiful. That's where Erykah Badu comes in.
Of course, with Badu being Badu, she was never going to play this one straight. And in her newly released video for "Maiysha (So Long)," the results are delightfully funny.
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Badu plays frustrated beatnik singer Sarah Bellum, opening the 8-minute video with a ridiculous monologue in the dark, recited over the melody to "Maiysha." It seems the video could be taking place in a '50s cafe, an appropriate homage to Davis, but then comes the bait and switch. Glasper, who plays one of Bellum's band members and her love interest, breaks the routine: "I can't see what I'm doing."
Bellum proceeds to flip out about the stupidity of the production and chastise Glasper's character for "spending all [her] money." Glasper, meanwhile, continually has to remind Bellum, "You don't even drink!" when she reaches frantically for alcohol. Hamming up the diva role to the hilt, Badu's performance seems like one that would've amused Davis plenty.
"Maiysha" was originally recorded by Davis during his '70s jazz fusion era and appeared on Get Up With It. An electric, funk-infused track, Glasper reinterpreted it as a softer bosa nova piece, with Badu adding her own original lyrics. Everything's Beautiful also includes songs from Bilal, John Scofield and Stevie Wonder.