Producer Easy Mo Bee, who has worked with Notorious B.I.G., Alicia Keys and LL Cool J over the years, is hoping to use his connections to preserve the legacy of jazz great Miles Davis.
Easy was the last person to work with him before he fell ill, having produced Davis' 1991 Doo-Bop album. Now he's working on a new version with vocals from modern artists weaved into the music.
"It's not just about remixing, it's about making something that means something," Easy said. He cited Quincy Jones' 1989 album, Back on the Block, which featured several pop, hip-hop and jazz guests, including several who were no longer living. "Everyone connected would have to have a [musical] connection to Miles. Alicia. I could see Mos Def fitting in. Jill Scott. Or I would give anything to work with D'Angelo."
Easy is just starting the project and has yet to lock down artists, but he hopes musicians recognize the importance of keeping Davis' name in the spotlight.
"With Jimi [Hendrix], his estate remains so active to this day," Easy said. "Miles Davis' estate, there's a lot more stuff that should be released. People should really know more about him. Maybe with an effort like this, we can achieve that."
In the meantime, Easy Mo Bee brought old and new music together with his remix of the Temptations' 1971 hit "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," which was released May 24 on a collection called Motown Remixed. Easy is also in the studio with Mos Def and just turned some tracks in for the Game's next album. "He's doing an N.W.A-type of project and Dre wanted to recapture that feel, so I have classic-style tracks," he said.
The producer is launching his own label, Easy Mo Records, as well. "I'm reading my royalties statements and all of the different areas where the records are selling, and it's like, 'This isn't a joke, I need to take advantage of my name being out there,' " Easy said. "And I want to remain in control. I've never been into the cookie-cutter thing."