Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Miles Does Jacko
on 28 March 2013
This 1984 album represented another step in Miles Davis' transition away from the blues and fusion influences of predecessor albums Star People and Decoy and (arguably) into more mainstream interpretations of commercial pop music (albeit with quite a heavy funk, and jazz-funk, influence). Primarily for these reasons, You're Under Arrest did not find favour with established jazz critics, but for me, (perhaps because I was, at the time, dabbling in things quite close to the style of You're Under Arrest) I would go out on a limb and say that the album had much going for it. Of course, you have to be someone not immediately turned off by Robert Irving III's synthesisers and Darryl 'The Munch' Jones' slap bass, as these form much of the backbone and feel of You're Under Arrest.
In addition, though, we have other impressive musical turns here. John McLaughlin's guitar playing is suitably moody and inflected, not to mention pyrotechnic, on one of the album's major works, the Davis, Irving composition, Katia, which also features Miles' staccato playing in a post-Bitches Brew vein. Similarly, the rather more restrained and conventionally tuneful Ms. Morrisine features Davis' playing at its most soothing and melodic, whilst McLaughlin concludes the number with another impressive solo. Of course, if it's soothing Davis playing you're after then the album's two most notorious covers - the Michael Jackson song Human Nature and Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time could be regarded as soothing blandness(?) personified, but I still regard Davis' version of the Lauper song as the finest rendition I've heard (and particularly impressive it was to catch Miles playing it live in the early 1980s, even if he did have his back pretty much exclusively turned towards the audience!).
My favourite cover here, though, and indeed my favourite cut on the album is Davis' take on the 80s soul/funk band D-Train's Something's On Your Mind. This is very much an archetypal 80s jazz-funk sound, with its throbbing beat, some vibrant and emotional playing by Davis and John Scofield's guitar picking out a skilful background thread. Equally impressive, and again very much in a funk vein, is John Scofield's title tune, which strangely enough features no credited guitar part (though that's definitely Scofield I can hear), but also very impressive playing from Davis' horn, Jones' bass and Bob Berg's tenor sax.
Very much an album of its time, and not one that many Davis aficionados have much time for, but one for which I have a good deal of affection.