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UMO Jazz Orchestra: Electrifying Miles

Jack Bowers By

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I can’t honestly evaluate this disc; the truth is, I can barely listen to it. Finland’s UMO Jazz Orchestra, whose superb release, Selected Standards, was reviewed last month, was kind enough to send this more recent recording in the same package, and while I must thank UMO for its generosity, it has impelled me to make a public confession, which is that, Jazz legend or no, I was never an enthusiastic advocate of trumpeter Miles Davis, and this is especially true of his later “electric period,” when I found much of his “music” not only unmelodious but incomprehensible. I sometimes thought he was putting everyone on, but because of his overblown reputation, no one would dare announce that the emperor had no clothes. But the legend lives on, sustained here by the UMO Orchestra and guest trumpeter Tim Hagans. Having come this far, we should acknowledge the fact that Miles had many admirers around the world — still has — and that they may — and in fact, should — take exception to these remarks, which are no more than one person’s narrow and imperfect opinion. Let us further concede that the UMO Orchestra is exemplary, as is Hagans, and that there are some brief passages in Electrifying Miles that aren’t at all unpleasant to these ears. That, however, is as far as our endorsement can proceed. Those who venerated Miles Davis no matter what musical path he traveled may be drawn to this recording by its title; on the other hand, those who did not will at least be forewarned about what to expect from it.

Track listing: High Speed Chase; Prince of Darkness; Spanish Key; What It Is; Sanctuary; Fast Track–Come Get It; Nefertiti; Calypso Frelimo (60:41).


Personnel:

Eero Koivistoinen, conductor; Tim Hagans, guest trumpet soloist; Pentti Lahti, Jouni J

Title: Electrifying Miles | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: a/l/l


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