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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 January 2013
As is widely recognised, this 1968 album from Miles Davis represented a significant point of transition for the man and the musician. September of that year saw Davis marry singer Betty Mabry (his 2nd of three trips to the altar), and the same month saw Davis and band enter the recording studio for the second session to put down some of the tracks for the Filles De Kilimanjaro album. The album saw Davis take his blues and, increasingly, rock/funk influences to a new level and provided clear pointers to his following two records - the more renowned In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew - and whilst, for me, Filles does not quite live up to these follow-ups (In A Silent Way has even more haunting melodies and Bitches Brew takes innovative and dynamic rhythm to unprecedented levels) it is still a fine, and groundbreaking, recording.

Indeed, on repeated listens, it becomes apparent that all the music on Filles has 'a point' and an intoxicating mix of appeals. Although the music does have a naturally flowing, and progressive, nature (almost suggesting a single musical suite), my listening has led me to think of the album in two distinct segments which, maybe coincidentally, fit with its structure of 'two album sides' (in old parlance). First up is Frelon Brun (Brown Hornet), which calls to my mind material from his earlier Miles Smiles period, being relatively conventional, but with 'out there' solos from Miles and Wayne Shorter. The following tunes Tout De Suite and Petit Machins (Little Stuff) are a different proposition, however - the former showcases drummer Tony Williams' amazing rhythmic dexterity (in effect, playing lead), whilst the number's 'beat' is maintained by Herbie Hancock's staccato electric piano and Ron Carter's bass, whilst the latter (an album highlight) is a brilliantly dynamic exposition on which Chick Corea's electric piano excels - both numbers providing a foretaste of things to come on Bitches Brew.

The 'second side' of Filles, on the other hand, is more closely paralleled with the exquisite beauty (and perhaps more conventional structure and sense of melody) that Miles was to encapsulate on In A Silent Way. The album's title track (and my favourite) is built around a sublime theme, played in harmony by Davis and Shorter, and provides virtuoso displays from both horns at their most subtle, calling to and fro to Hancock's piano, whilst Williams is 'relegated' to more conventional rhythmic duties. Similarly, Mademoiselle Mabry (Miss Mabry) is another perfectly judged example of restrained playing - suggestive of an African blues - witty and entrancing by turns, as Williams weaves his intricate spell around Davis and Shorter's lyrical solos.

Undoubtedly, one of Miles' (most) neglected ones.
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on 4 August 2014
Miles Davis was unique in that he kept reinventing himself and over the years introduced several different ways of playing jazz . On this album he sounds like the leader of an African township band as he leads a dance through five brilliant numbers . Listen in particular to the superb drums of Tony Williams . Williams was capable of playing four different time signatures with hands and feet at the same time - hard to believe but true . This is not Davis at his absolute best but it still sounds pretty incredible .
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on 30 October 2015
Absolutely Brilliant
I recall that Downbeat Jazz magazine voted this Miles album record of the year on it's release in the late 60's
Get the Mobile Fidelity pressing on 180gram vinyl spinning at 45rpm. What a fantastic recording, beautiful sound stage & stereo separation
If only Mo Fi re issued Miles "My Funny Valentine "at present they have issued one half of a live concert titled "Four & More"
John Whitaker
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on 11 April 2012
This is an album compiled from various Miles' NY Columbia sessions, circa 1968, I hadn't heard before. Although the production smacks of one of those 'let's trawl the Davis archive and make some money', with a 14'36" outtake of the earlier 14'07" Tout de Suite added-on for good measure, it's actually fresh, lyrical and well worth listening to. Said to define some kind of boundary between his early bepop style and his later electro-funk psychosis(sorry!), it's still pretty accessible; while the esoteric title and cover art will impress browsers on your jazz shelf. The first of the two quintets represented here features Herbie Hancock on electric piano, replaced in the second by Chick Corea. That about says it all; Dave Holland comes in on bass as this was I think about the time Ron Carter moved on. The great Wayne Shorter tenors, Tony Williams rocks, studio production is by the reliable Teo Macero and the package has a kind of French theme-night appeal, without the accordions and the soupe a l'oignon. Va t'en, bebe, you won't be disappointed.
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on 26 October 2013
What was the second side of the original LP (Filles de Kiliminjaro and Mademoiselle Mabry) has a restrained brilliance - even Tony Williams' explosions on the drumkit are restrained! I'm less keen on the first LP side where the harmonies are more dissonant. There's a lot in common with In a Silent Way, but the instrumental textures here are much sparser which has the benefit of placing the solo contributions of Davis, Shorter, Corea and Hancock in a very stark spotlight.
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on 14 February 2013
The best thing for me about this album is its atmosphere. Whereas Davis classics like 'A Kind of Blue' and 'Bitches Brew' both have a heat surrounding them, 'Filles de Kilimanjaro' emanates a pleasant coolness. The sound is wide and spacious, with neither instrument attempting to grab the limelight. The tracks, some short, some quite long, swing along nicely with a slightly rock-tinged edge. But this is most definitely still a jazz record.

As is fairly well known, the first and last tracks were recorded at a different time to the central tracks and with different players. This is clearly audible if one listens to the album in one sitting. The outer tracks are identifiable by their urgency and harmonic richness, whereas the inner tracks are based around one just chord and sound more relaxed.

Unfortunately, if one is attempting to listen to the album in one sitting, the last two tracks run for just a little too long for comfort. The effect isn't exactly infuriating but soporific. By the last minute of 'Mademoiselle Mabry', one is almost out for the count and it sounds like the musicians are too!
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on 3 March 2016
very happy with the service you provide. solid.
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on 25 January 2016
Absolutely fabulous.
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on 4 November 2015
an excellent cd
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on 4 December 2015
The Best!
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