Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker and Taj Mahal together on the same record: Wow… well not quite. The problem is that this eclectic combination was put together specifically to play a Jack Nitzchse composed movie score. As soundtrack’s go it’s good – lot’s of drifting, atmospheric playing that’s well suited to building cinematic moods – but, out of context, a great deal of it sounds like… well like a soundtrack without the movie.
On track after track John Lee Hooker puts in a tour-de-force of deep groaning that beats virtually any other bluesman out of sight, Miles Davis inserts trumpet stabs to die for and Taj Mahal (supported by Tim Drummond, Earl Palmer & Roy Rogers) provides superbly earthy blues backings. But… after 13 often quite similar, low-key offerings it gets (dare I say it) a bit boring. So, realistically, why buy it?
Well, it’s a one-off combination of superb musicians, it’s great background music – some of the best jazz-blues “lift-music” ever made – and, it contains three gems: “Gloria’s Story” (featuring some beautiful playing from Miles Davis) and the virtually identical “Bank Robbery” & “End Credits” where the group let rip with some burning jazz-blues to provide a superb insight into what treats could have been on offer if they’d made their own album rather than… a soundtrack. One of music’s great lost opportunities but worth the money all the same.