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While the tagline 'Miles Smiles' is more befitting Miles Davis' second great quintet, it is an apt reference to this recording by the Invisible Astro Healing Rhythm Quartet (IAHRQ), who draw not so much from the Columbia recordings by Miles Davis E.S.P> (1965), Sorcerer (1967), or Nefertiti (1968) but from the great electricity of Live-Evil (1971) and Get Up With It (1974). Like Miles, the IAHRQ merge the intersecting lines of jazz, funk, and rock on this live 2012 date.
The quartet is a collaborative effort of electrified instruments: guitars, bass and various organs with a nucleus of drum/percussive groove. They summon the music of Miles, and his progeny: John McLaughlin/Carlos Santana, Weather Report, and Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi and Head Hunters.
This recording includes jazz trumpeter Kris Tiner from the Empty Cage Quartet and saxophonist Phillip Greenlief of The Lost Trio. The inclusion of brass to this cosmic psychedelia jam session seasons the set with touches of improvisation that nest nicely with the contagious rhythms. Opening with "One For Ra," the space-time continuum of electric waves is pushed forward with moguls of bass thump and funky drumming. Greenleaf and Tiner levitate over the pulse that could be mistaken for a Bill Laswell production. "Ethio Jam," a tribute to Ethiopian funk, follows with another infective groove that morphs from the Ethiopiques to James Brown. Greenlief transforms from Getatchew Mekuria to Maceo Parker, as Tiner spits notes in blasts and blats.
"Michael Henderson" is a direct reference to the Stevie Wonder bassist turned Miles sideman. The once shunned explorations of electric Miles find room for expression here. Electric guitars aren't the kryptonite once thought of in the jazz setting and the fusion played here could never be confused as smooth. "Math Bath" conjoins the intricacies of math-rock with spacey cosmic jazz and some searing blues guitar work. The limitations of a vinyl LP release limit the length of each track, or perhaps it just whets the appetite for a much longer exploration next time.
Invisible Astro Healing Rhythm Quartet is available as a LP or digital download.
Track Listing: One For Ra; Ethio Jam; Michael Henderson; Math Bath.
Personnel: Jordan Aguire: electric guitar, organ; Andrew Koeth: electric bass, organ; Brenndan Morlan:
electric guitar, electric bass; Kris Tiner: trumpet; Phillip Greenlief: tenor saxophone.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.