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A Dreadful Period in Miles' Career
on 2 February 2014
This was one of the later albums I acquired from the Miles Davis catalogue. I loved the cover and the idea of a tribute to Desmond Tutu. I expected music to match that stature. What I got was bland 80's Pop. In a documentary I saw recently Marcus Miller talked about how the Jazz musicians who Miles got playing electric instruments looked uncomfortable playing them but that he was comfortable as it was where he came from. Here in lies the problem, that Miles himself should have recognised. He had previously pushed musicians way out of their comfort zone to get great performances out of them. He sack George Coleman (who should have been recognised as one of the great saxophonists of a new Miles Davis band) because he heard him practicing solos in his hotel room. Miles wanted spontaneity and practiced solos did not deliver that.
Marcus Miller's mechanical trudging arrangements do allow Miles some space for playing against but this album, and the one's released around this time, have aged very badly. I have dozens (literally) of Miles davis albums that I would listen to before getting this out again although here the live Deluxe Edition tracks do at least offer a slightly more rewarding listening experience.
I recommend that you buy this album only after you have almost everything from Birth of the Cool to Agharta. The best post-hiatus album is clearly Aura but I do have a soft spot for track High Speed Chase on Doo-Bop