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Endlessmiles: A Tribute to Miles Davis

Jack Bowers By

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A well–formed program of contemporary Jazz (for the most part anyway), presented for a good cause as well. A part of the net proceeds from Endlessmiles, recorded by a number of all–star groups at New York City’s Birdland on May 26, 1998 — the 72nd anniversary of the late trumpeter’s birth — will be used to help establish an endowment for young musicians, the MilesDavis.com scholarship, to be administered by the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE). Two of the eight songs (“So What,” “No Blues”) were written by Miles while the others were given the singular Davis treatment at some point in his long and storied career. Especially rewarding is George Coleman’s warmhearted and provocative interpretation of Rodgers and Hart’s “My Funny Valentine,” accompanied only by pianist Harold Mabern, which closes the concert. Mabern also comps on “So What” and “Walkin’,” Geri Allen on “Nefertiti,” “No Blues” and “The Sorcerer,” Adam Holzman (who uses electric piano and synthesizer) on two of the more adventurous (and least appetizing) selections, “In a Silent Way” and “Tutu.” This is, of course, one reviewer’s opinion; others may prefer them to the more accessible but less “profound” implications of “So What,” “No Blues,” “Walkin’” and the rest. Among the soloists, Mabern and Allen are standouts, trumpeter Brecker fares well on “Walkin’,” Coleman is superb on “Valentine” but unimpressive on “So What,” brothers Wallace and Antoine Roney expend considerable energy without generating much heat on “Nefertiti” or “The Sorcerer,” Berg is largely wasted, and Dave Liebman plays about as “inside” as you’ll ever hear him on “No Blues” and “Walkin’” (which nevertheless, in his nonconformist hands, sounds more like “squawkin’”). An earnest albeit uneven homage to the legendary MDD who would probably have been pleased by its on–the–edge ambiance.

Track listing: So What; Nefertiti; Walkin’; In a Silent Way; No Blues; The Sorcerer; Tutu; My Funny Valentine (69:17).

Collective personnel: Don Alias, Geri Allen, Bob Berg, Randy Brecker, Mino Cinelu, Jimmy Cobb, George Coleman, Foley, Al Foster, Adam Holzman, Robert Irving III, Dave Liebman, Harold Mabern, Gary Peacock, Antoine Roney, Wallace Roney, Lenny White, Buster Williams.

| Record Label: N2K Encoded Music | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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