Miles Davis: The Last Word - The Warner Bros. Years (2002)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Change isn't always welcome. As long as things are going okay, folks would just as soon leave things the way they are. But what's okay for one person or group may not be the same for others. So, when Miles Davis hit the 1970s and 1980s with a fusion of hip, electronic, synthesized and mainstream sounds in one tight package, some folks resisted. Some even complained. Even today, many feel that everything Davis did after 1969 isn't worth collecting.
There are some recordings from those years that are well worth collecting. This 4-CD collection contains all of Davis' Warner Bros. albums plus significant, previously unissued material. It's over five hours of modern jazz, some of which you may already own. Complete albums Tutu and Amandla provide an interesting look at what changes the veteran leader had in mind during this late period of his career.
Then, there's Doo-Bop. Completed posthumously, the album rivals the Dingo soundtrack album for the honor of being Davis' worst ever: not for style, but for the uneven trumpet work he displayed at that time.
Guest appearances Davis made on albums by Shirley Horn, Paolo Rustichelli, Kenny Garrett, Cameo and Toto are included in the collection. Each provides a suitable reminder of why the trumpeter remained so influential all those years. Pieces from film soundtracks, some of it previously unissued, feature Davis' trumpet in a variety of settings. Music from the films Street Smart, Siesta, Scrooged , The Hot Spot and Dingo reveal how natural it was to have Davis sit in just about anywhere. The creative music from Siesta recalls Davis' collaboration with Gil Evans on Sketches of Spain. The swinging piece from Scrooged pairs the trumpeter with David Sanborn, Paul Shaffer, Larry Carlton and a crew of merry hipsters. The blues themes from The Hot Spot pair him with John Lee Hooker and Taj Mahal.
Previously unissued material includes "Maze with Bob Berg, Mike Stern and others, "Rubber Band with Stern, a reflective "See I See with Stern and Adam Holzman and an up-tempo "Digg That with John Bigham and Jeff Lorber. The pieces include some hip-hop and some of the same synth/vocal effects found on Doo-Bop. Two stellar excursions from the 1986 Nice Jazz Festival and three selections from a 1989 appearance on the NBC television series Night Music , with David Sanborn, Kenny Garrett, Marcus Miller and others, make you wonder why they were never released before. Well, they're her now; in stores already, and listing for a fair price. It's bound to make many collectors happy, and, hopefully, it will open some ears to the positive aspects of the work from Miles Davis' last years.
Track Listing: Tutu; Tomaas; Portia; Splatch; Backyard Ritual; Perfect Way; Don?t Lose Your Mind; Full Nelson; Maze; Rubber Band; See I See; Digg That; Street Smart/Times Square/Punchy?s Theme Reprise (Main Title); Lost in Madrid, Part I; Siesta/Kitt?s Kiss/Lost in Madrid, Part II; Theme for Augustine/Wind/Seduction/Kiss; Submission; Lost in Madrid, Part III; Conchita/Lament; Lost in Madrid, Part IV/Rat Dance/The Call; Claire/Lost in Madrid, Part V; Afterglow; Los Feliz; We Three Kings of Orient Are; Murder; Coming to Town; Bank Robbery; The Arrival; Concert on the Runway; The Departure; Trumpet Cleaning; The Dream; Paris Walking II; Going Home; Catembre; Cobra; Big Time; Hannibal; Jo-Jo; Amandla; Jilli; Mr. Pastorius; The Struggle Continues ? Artists United Against Apartheid; Don?t Stop Me Now; In the Night; Big ?ol Head; Capri; You Won?t Forget Me; Mystery; The Doo-Bop Song; Chocolate Chip; High Speed Chase; Blow; Sonya; Fantasy; Duke Booty; Mystery; Opening Medley: Theme from Jack Johnson/Speak/That?s What Happened; Time After Time; Portia; Tutu; Mr. Pastorius; Hannibal.
Personnel: Miles Davis- trumpet, synth; Marcus Miller- bass, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet, soprano saxophone, keyboards, guitar, drums, synth programming; Ron Carter, Angus Thomas, Felton Crews, Darryl Jones, Alex Blake, Abraham Laboriel, Benny Rietveld, Tim Drummond, Charles Ables- bass; Foley- bass, guitar; Zane Giles- guitar, bass, DMX drum programming; Michel Legrand, Joe Sample, Paul Shaffer, Robert Irving III, Bradford Ellis, Kei Akagi, Alan Oldfield, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Joey DeFrancesco, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Deron Johnson, Richard Scher- keyboards; John Bigham- keyboards, synth, guitar, percussion, drum programming; Adam Holzman- synthesizer, keyboards, synthesizer programming; Bernard Wright- synthesizer; Paolo Rustichelli- waveframe audioframe; Jeff Lorber- keyboards, programming; Jason Miles- synthesizer programming; Adam Nussbaum, Tony Williams, Vincent Wilburn, Jr., Steve Williams, Anton Fig, Earl Palmer, Al Foster- drums; Harvey Mason, Omar Hakim, Alphonse Mouzon, Ricky Wellman, Jeff Porcaro- drums, percussion; Don Alias, Mino Cinelu, Marilyn Mazur, Steve Reid, Paulinho DaCosta, Steve Thornton, Bashiri Johnson, Rudy Bird- percussion; Sonny Okosuns- talking drum; Michael Urbaniak- electric violin; Rick Margitza- tenor saxophone; Bob Berg- tenor saxophone, synth; Kenny Garrett- alto saxophone, flute, soprano saxophone, keyboards, synth; David Sanborn- alto saxophone; Mike Stern, Stanley Jordan, Billy ?Spaceman? Patterson, Larry Carlton, Michael Landau, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Randy Hall, Roy Rogers, Steve Lukather, Mark Rivett, Robben Ford, Steve Khan- guitar; John Scofield- acoustic guitar on ?Siesta;? Earl Klugh- classical guitar on ?Claire;? Tom Harrell, Oscar Brashear, Ray Brown, Chuck Findley, George Graham, Nolan Smith- trumpet; Steve Turre, George Bohanon, Jimmy Cleveland, Thurman Green, Lew McGreary, Dick Nash- trombone; Vince DeRosa, David Duke, Marnie Johnson, Richard Todd- French horn; James Walker- flute; Buddy Collette, Bill Green, Jackie Kelso, Marty Krystall, Charles Owens, John Stephens- woodwinds; John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal- vocals, guitar; Shirley Horn- vocals, piano; Easy Mo Bee- vocals, keyboards; Larry Blackmon- vocals, bass, drums, percussion; Tomi Jenkins, J.R., A.B. Money, Nathan Leftenant- vocals.
Record Label: Rhino Records