Title: One Night In Miami… (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: January 15, 2021
Academy Award winning actress and director Regina King recently released the ground-breaking film adaptation of One Night in Miami. Based on a play by Kemp Powers (who also wrote the screenplay), the plot is a dramatization of what might have happened during a 1964 meeting between Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammed Ali), Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and Jim Brown. The basis of this meeting called by Malcolm X was to discuss the different paths that these men were taking and to both praise and critique their efforts in the ongoing fight for equality. While the specifics of the meeting are fictitious, many of the events surrounding the plot actually happened: Cassius Clay changing his name to Mohammed Ali and joining the Nation of Islam; Sam Cooke releasing his iconic song “A Change is Gonna Come;” Jim Brown ending his football career to become an actor; and Malcolm X’s constant surveillance by the FBI prior to his assassination on February 21,1965.
One of the stars of the film is actor and singer-songwriter Leslie Odom Jr., who portrays Sam Cooke and is featured on the soundtrack covering many of Cooke’s classic songs including “You Send Me” and “Tammy.” Odom also co-wrote, along with Sam Ashworth, the message song “Speak Now,” very effectively “channeling the sound of Sam Cooke.” Most of the music credits for this soundtrack notably go to the amazing composer Terence Blanchard, who scored the film. No stranger to the film scoring scene, Blanchard has music credits for almost every prominent film in Black Culture from the early 1990s to the present, including another 2020 notable release, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. One Night In Miami is yet another great effort by the composer and jazz musician.
Reviewed by Bobby E. Davis Jr.