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  1. #1
    Forum Regular
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    Mar 2002

    Miles Davis 67-87

    Could our resident Miles Davis expert recommend some of the best tracks from this era.
    It would be most appreciated.


  2. #2
    Global Village Idiot mad rhetorik's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    Cortland NY


    Tough call. I'm no Miles "expert" (and I'm more familiar with Miles' first quartet), but there are a few solid entries from his second quartet that meet your criteria. Sorcerer and Nerfertiti are pretty good, though pretty different from what he did before. Tony Williams, I'd have to say, was the best drummer that ever worked with Miles, and Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock are no slouches either.

    After that, the question you should be asking yourself is: How do you feel about jazz fusion? Miles In The Sky and Files De Kilimanjaro started playing around with rock rhythms and electric instruments (George Benson contributes electric guitar on "Paraphenalia," and Files De Kilimanjaro features electric piano). They're good albums, if something of an acquired taste.

    Miles' best fusion album is, hands-down, his first one In A Silent Way. Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, and Joe Zawinul all show up on this album, and it is phenomenal. Mellow, beautiful cool jazz-fusion. Lots of neat interplay. Unless you're a purist, get your hands on this for sure.

    The fusion stuff after that is...well...not so great. All the critics rave over Bitches' Brew but frankly I think that album is a leaden, overlong, messy snoozer. Most of the stuff I've heard after that is similar, with one exception: A Tribute To Jack Johnson, which is pretty good. Some nice grooves, but also a lot of interminable stretches. I think Miles got way too noodly on these later albums for his own good. A lot of people say Live Evil and Pangaea and the like are "mood music"... well, I guess I'm rarely in the mood for this stuff.

    Then there's On The Corner. While it was recorded in the same timeframe as above, it's very different from those albums. Weird, trance-inducing, electronic fusion. Very bizarre. Personally it's not my bag, but who knows? If you have adventurous tastes you might dig it.

    After that, you might as well write off Miles. He retired from '75 to '81 and then twaddled the rest of his life on crappy "muzak" complete with dated '80s production touches. Quite sad from a former jazz great.
    "...and then at the end of the letter I like to write <i>'P.S. - this is what part of the alphabet would look like if Q and R were eliminated.'</i> "

    <b>_R.I.P. Mitch Hedburg 1968-2005_</b>

  3. #3
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    I have to second In A Silent Way, and it was because of Mad that I actually sat down & gave it a proper listen. I'm no fan of *****es Brew either, or just about anything else after E.S.P., but that rec's good.

    This is a period from Miles that I'm just not crazy about. And not because I have some kind of purist agenda against the electronic experimentation. I just don't like the results. I wouldn't have any problem with the approach per se, it just didn't yield much I think was good. I do think that people who were against the approach just because that's what it was without taking the time to actually evaluate the music as something outside of what they had previously known as jazz were unfair. Too bad the albums weren't something I actually like...

    On The Corner, if nothing else, is a very interesting listen. Definitely worth hearing--once. There are a few moments I would describe as constipated, but I always found it to be more interesting than BB. But I'd definitely go with MR's comments. Outside of Darren I think he may be the biggest Miles guy on the board. I do have most everything from Birth Of The Cool up through 1962 or so, but with the exception of Doo-Bop (I would've liked to have heard him do a proper jazz-rap album with a good rapper) E.S.P. was the latest recording I had on hand until hearing IASW. I think it was JDaniel who sent out a mystery disc that turned out to be Aura a year or two ago? Or something from that period, 1985 or so. It was unlistenable.

    I don't like others.

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