It is often hard enough to conjure the right mood for one installment of an anthology series, but what if your task is five times that? Music supervisor Ed Bailie
was tasked by Academy Award-nominated director Steve McQueen
to do just that for “Small Axe
,” a quintet of period-specific films about Black life in England ranging from the 1960s to the 1980s, touching on social topics from police brutality to the failings of the education system to a raging house party’s effect on young lives. “We used about 80 or 90 songs in the course of ‘Small Axe
,'” says Bailie, “and each film had different music illustrated in the scripts, so every part carved their own identities throughout”.
For “Mangrove,” the lengthiest and arguably most-charged entry that opens “Axe
,” Bailie took his cue from the Trinidadian-settled Notting Hill of the late 1960s — far removed from the gentrified neighborhood seen years