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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Miles, inspired by Tony Williams,
It has taken me years come to some modest understanding of this music, long after the extraordinary feeling conveyed by it had captivated me. The striking aspect of this album is the pivotal role played by drummer Tony Williams. It's remarkable that, at 17 years old, Williams's playing forms the canvas upon which Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter paint the forms and colours of this sublime music. Dave Holland's bass provides the rythmic underpinning, occasionally being visited by Williams, before he rejoins the others in the forefront of the picture.
Nefertiti is no K of B. One doesn't relax straight into it on first hearing, as anyone surely does with that earlier album. It presents a complexity that K o B does not have, despite the K o B band having four solo voices, including the giant talent of Coltrane. The primary role that Williams plays on Neferetiti seems disturbing at first but [for me] the beautiful logic and feeling contained in this music has gradually revealed itself and has become endlessly rewarding and essential to my enjoyment of Miles Davis.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkly beautiful - a stunning album,
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More musical gold from Miles' Second Quintet,
The disc very much takes off with the wonderfully whistful "Fall" which was also composed by Shorter with the following tracks "Hand jive", "Riot" and "Madness" effectively continuing where "Miles Smiles" left off with some blisteringly exciting free-ish playing all under-pinned by the furious drumming of Tony Williams which is the stand out feature throughout this record. Williams is simply immense on this CD. The "official" record concludes with another Shorter composition "Pinocchio" which is the most catchy theme on the whole record and has the most orthodox swing feel about it.
Having explored Davis' recording career from his days with Charlie Parker through to the electonic efforts where the leader's trumpet was cut and pasted into Marcus Miller's aural landscape, I would safely say that the second quintet features the hardest swinging and most uninhibited playing Davis ever put down on record. The looseness of the rhythm that was laid down by Williams and under-pinned by the ever -resourceful and creative bass playing of the wonderful Ron Carter could not but have helped being anything other than inspirational. As ever, Herbie Hancock demonstrates that he is by far the greatest pianist in jazz when it comes to laying down rich and colourful harmonies behind a soloist. He is also incapable of playing a phrase in his solos which doesn't swing with the hardest degree of intensity. Although there is plenty produced by all five musicians on these Quintet records to merit repeated listening, it is always Hancock who astounds with the shear originality and creativity of his ideas. I love his playing more than any other pianist's. I would also have to say that the idiosyncrities of Wayne Shorter's tenor provided the ideal foil for Davis.
Unfortunately, there is a small caveat with this issue. Despite the unreserved praise for the "official" takes, this disc also includes a number of takes that were rejected at the time. Although the arrangement of "Pinocchio" is almost transformed by taking the tune at a different pace, by and large it is easy to see why these takes were not chosen and regretfully they take the shine off what was initially a perfect album. These rejected alternatives are merely "good" and lack the greatness of the ones that were eventually chosen. (Oddly, "Miles Smiles" solely consists of first takes and the band must have been fired up when it recorded in the studio that day.) Sometimes it is best that these rejected takes remain in the vault as in this instance they show that not everything they produced in the studio was turned to gold.
Other than this reservation, the "official" takes are exceptional pieces of music making by one of the defining groups in the history of 20th century music and not just jazz. An essential purchase and of equal stature to "Sorcerer" if not repeating the magnificance of "Miles Smiles."
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles best with Tony Williams,
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive shivers from the great Miles 60s quintet,
Shorter wrote 'Nefertiti', 'Fall' and 'Pinocchio', Herbie Hancock wrote 'Madness' and 'Riot', and Tony Williams 'Hand Jive'. But in the greater scheme of things I'm not sure what that really means - maybe they came up the melody and handed it over to the band for the creative fires to flare. For sure, it's the interaction and apparent fluidity (even telepathy) of the five musicians that is so addictive.
Nefertiti - like much of the work of the 1960s Miles quintet - is beloved by jazz musicians more than mass audiences, but don't let that worry you. This is hypnotic stuff, and there's always some twist to keep you coming back. The switch from Miles' trumpet to Wayne Shorter's sax on Hand Jive always gives me the shivers. And, yes, Tony Williams is extraordinary, a freefloating jazzer rather than someone beating out the time.
Has to be four stars, though. There's the complete Quintet recordings box set !!
5.0 out of 5 stars Organic Jazz,
Of course, the album is particularly noted for its title track and the way in which Davis 'demoted' the roles of the horns to play Shorter's increasingly mesmerising theme behind the improvisational mix of Messrs. Hancock, Carter and Williams - with Williams, in particular, excelling here. Indeed, with the level of inventiveness and general exuberance that Williams possessed it was always going to be difficult for him to be in any sense subdued and it is this drum powerhouse which (for me) impresses most on Nefertiti. Williams' own composition Hand Jive (of which there are three versions on the 1998 CD) is simply brilliant, certainly the most impressive 'total band' exposition here, with excellent Davis and Shorter solos and with Williams no doubt excelling in the freedom to really exploit his full range of capabilities (and, as noted on the CD sleeve, the 2nd alternate take of Williams' composition is particularly impressive). At perhaps the other extreme, and providing another album highpoint for me, is Shorter's sublimely restrained Fall, on which Davis provides his most lyrical (and subtle) playing here and Williams just about manages to keep it in check (though you can, at times, sense him straining at the leash).
In comparison with these three openers there is an almost inevitable sense of anti-climax in the Hancock compositions Madness and Riot, though this is almost certainly just a reflection of the quality of the other compositions, and Madness, in particular, has enough introverted eccentricity (and a fine Hancock solo) to keep the listener fully engaged. The album closes with Pinocchio, another impressive Shorter composition and probably one of the most conventionally 'swinging' of the compositions here, with its silky smooth and catchy hook played by the horns.
For me, not the easiest album to get into by this Davis quintet, but well worth making the effort.
4.0 out of 5 stars Sultry,
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant,
4.0 out of 5 stars No-one Cooler!,
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