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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tribute to Jack Johnson...
For those who can't afford the epic 'Complete' box-set of these sessions and are underwhelmed by the poor-sounding 1992-reissue of it, will be pleased that this brilliant soundtrack is available in something like a definitive sounding version.
Miles released many albums in his career, as such 'Jack Johnson' gets overlooked - which is a shame, as it's a definite fave...
Published on 1 Jun 2005 by Jason Parkes

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13 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some dazzling displays of virtuosity, but overall lacks focus
There is no doubt that the threading guitar of John McLaughlin, followed by the rocking trumpet solo to kick-start Right Off, gets the average (Open-minded) Miles Davis fan excited. What's not to be excited about? Miles Rockin' it up! McLaughlin's guitar! Hancock on keys! Cobham on drums! etc, etc.

A Tribute to Jack Johnson was by far the furthest Miles Davis...
Published on 22 Oct 2006 by The Fish


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz rock that...rocks!, 7 Jan 2013
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This review is from: A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Audio CD)
Somewhat more understated and infinitely more gleeful than 'Bitches Brew', often finding itself overshadowed by that undeniably classic Milestone, this really is the one where the term 'jazz-rock&' starts to make some sort of makes sense, should you care to pigeonhole. Concise, clipped and powerful and seeming too short by far the record leaves me eager for more. Jack Johnson sets up a 'groove' from start to finish and makes for rich, compulsive listening. I find myself wishing, occasionally, that I'd splashed out on the boxset although that might, possibly, have robbed this central gem of some of its mystery and allure...an embarassment of treasures, as it were. In a matter of months Miles had left the jazz world reeling in the aftermath of 'In A Silent Way' and 'Bitches Brew'. This presented yet another fascinating glimpse into the constant evolution of Miles' creative processes and, therefore, is indispensable to even the most casual fan of the Man's work. Gorgeous!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Tribute, 1 May 2011
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This review is from: A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Audio CD)
Miles Davis influence on the world of music is inestimable. And for me, Jack Johnson is the pinnacle of his creativity. When I first bought this album, I though it had been mis-pressed, until Miles' unmistakable trumpet comes in like a ringing bell over the top of the cacophany. Utter perfection. The greatest entrance by any music artist I have ever heard.

The album has only two pieces. Right Off is transfixing - and would fit in over any PA pre-band taking the stage in 2011. The second - Yesternow - is a meditative piece in a similar vein to In a Silent Way - but ends with the booming voice of an actor playing the voice of Jack Johnson. The first black heavyweight champion of the world. Along with - Hendrix, MC5, Sly and the Family Stone et al, this album must've been playing all over the burnt out shells of buildings in late 60s / early 70s america. Extraordinary.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Miles and Teo at their experimental best, 13 May 2009
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This review is from: A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Audio CD)
This album is very raw and emotive, with all of the players sacrificing their obvious technical prowess in favour of visceral outpourings which reflect the content of the film (probably, I haven't seen it)
If you like guitar it's a great opportunity to hear John Mclaughlin in a formative period playing with real abandon.
Brilliant! Full of energy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars blug a ditch, 6 Mar 2013
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chromalloy sans vibralitic truss whistle et osteospan. Glockpanel opt alamach tu blottick apt relavoke dis woparost. Tu varstow im placket,
Gleek
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5.0 out of 5 stars JAZZ ROCK FUSION, 8 May 2013
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This review is from: A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Audio CD)
You will hear more of a Rock vibe on "Jack Johnson" than any other Miles album....I really think this is the sort of stuff he would have done with Hendrix had he lived. Miles plays harder and louder than ever before. Excellent album and probably Miles Davis last truely "great" record. MUST BE PLAYED LOUD to feel the full force.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles Rocks!, 15 Oct 2014
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Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Audio CD)
Although having just set the world alight with two revolutionary pieces of work, 1969’s In A Silent Way and 1970’s Bitches Brew, I can’t help thinking that when the 'fans’ first heard Miles’ 1971 tribute to 'black icon’ and world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, 'babies’ and 'bathwater’ were tripping off tongues. Billy Cobham’s pounding drums and John McLaughlin’s staccato guitar licks at the start of the 'first side’, the 27-minute Davis composition Right Off, seemed to indicate that the man had gone the whole hog and crossed over fully into the rock genre! Of course, ten minutes further in and this became patently untrue – more of a rock beat certainly, but with a rhythmic complexity and level of improvisational dexterity unmistakeably grounded in jazz.

For me, regardless of (frankly meaningless) debates around genre, Jack Johnson stands as a stunning blend of the highpoints of Miles’ 'electric period’ – during the album’s ‘other tune’ (the 25-minute Yesternow) a use of spacing akin to In A Silent Way or Bitches Brew’s Sanctuary or Feio and elsewhere on the album a Sly Stone-influenced funky backbeat (courtesy of Cobham and Michael Henderson’s electric bass) that Davis was to explore more fully (but less succinctly) on On The Corner. That Davis was able to produce (with the invaluable help of ace producer and 'musical director’ Teo Macero) such a set of intoxicating and coherent improvisations is yet another testament to the man’s musical genius. Indeed, his entire band excels on Jack Johnson – Davis’ open horn playing is (arguably) as good (and dynamic) as anywhere else in his canon, McLaughlin effectively reinvents what is possible on electric guitar, Steve Grossman delivers some mesmerising soprano saxophone and Herbie Hancock masters his Farfisa organ brilliantly, which, given that he hadn’t even seen the instrument before Miles 'invited’ him to play during a session (as described in Bill Milkowski’s hilarious sleeve notes), is another notable achievement for the album.

With Jack Johnson, Davis continued his musical progression and development – a process that (in total) he was to follow over six decades, leading to a musical career arguably as significant as any in the 20th century.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Johnson, 9 Oct 2009
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Steve (By DUNDEE Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Audio CD)
I must say I don't think that this album is quite as great as some make it out to be. True, Miles is brilliant, and there are some great moments here. But it was always going to be tricky to try and do rock-jazz, and pull it off. As one other reviewer says, if you want rock, listen to Hendrix or Zeppelin.

The opener, Right Off, kicks off in a lively fashion, underpinned by a blues riff from Michael Henderson, and some rockin' guitar from McLaughlin. And then Miles kicks in and blows everyone else away. But Henderson's riff is nothing out of the ordinary- not necessarily a problem, unless the groove is to be sustained for 26 minutes plus. And despite McLaughlin's opening salvo, for the rest of the track he seems to be hacking away at random chords. Herbie Hancock arrives at one point, fresh from the shops (according to the sleeve notes), and he plays like his hands are still full of groceries. Only Steve Grossman's sax playing, which is excellent, keeps pace with Miles. But despite these flaws, the track still manages to go the distance, keeping the listener's interest throughout. So these cats were clearly doing something right.

The second track, Yesternow, is more spaced out. In a sense, I prefer it. The horns weave in between the spaces created by Henderson's hypnotic, minimalist bassline, And the track eventually kicks into a kind of wah-wah funk groove, before some hauntingly atmospheric solo trumpet draws proceedings to a close.

Overall, Jack Johnson's not quite a knockout, but to use the boxing analogy, it goes the distance, and wins the points decision ;)
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13 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some dazzling displays of virtuosity, but overall lacks focus, 22 Oct 2006
This review is from: A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Audio CD)
There is no doubt that the threading guitar of John McLaughlin, followed by the rocking trumpet solo to kick-start Right Off, gets the average (Open-minded) Miles Davis fan excited. What's not to be excited about? Miles Rockin' it up! McLaughlin's guitar! Hancock on keys! Cobham on drums! etc, etc.

A Tribute to Jack Johnson was by far the furthest Miles Davis had strayed from his jazz background. While Water Babies, Miles in the Sky, and Bitches Brew had threaded his original style with a fresh, new electric sound, JJ was an all out rock assault, set to be a triumphant musical backdrop to the film documentary about the titular boxer.

What I feel is right with this album is, first and foremost, Miles' playing. He completley owns proceedings throughout. There are also catchy riffs aplenty, and exuberant energy and style oozing from the drummer. However, JJ is swarming with problems.

In the 70s, Miles Davis became increasingly guilty of making tunes in the editing room. He gets away with this on Bitches Brew's opener, Pharaoh's Dance, but both tracks on offer here are pieced together so unlovingly, it's almost insulting to the listener. There is also the style of music being explored. Miles' fusion albums generally only work when actually fused with jazz. The straight rock of this album (along with the straight funk of Pangaea, or the straight pop of his 80s period) proves beyond him and his band. If people want to listen to rock music, they should listen to Hendrix or Zeppelin- both of which easily eclipse this effort. In turn, the tracks do not go in any real direction, and the album as a whole criminally wastes its considerable musical talent.

For me (a huge Miles fan), A Tribute To Jack Johnson represents a considerable dip in Miles Davis' form, a loveless collage against other people's handcrafted originals. It has more than a few good moments, but I consider my purchasing of this CD a minor waste of money.
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