Ever since Miles Davis recorded In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, fusion has been an ugly/beautiful word in the jazz lexicon. As with much of Davis' work, the ripples from his splashing continue to lap on distant shores. Multi-keyboardist Scott Kinsey and trumpeter Tim Hagans have both been bop-tized in these waters, as testified to by their recent releases.
Hagans came out of the hard bop muscularity of Freddie Hubbard, marked by chops and swing, but soon established himself as an original composer, particularly on 1993's No Words, which explored the expanded harmonic vocabulary of neobop. Later, he investigated the implications of Davis' electric period(s) through the employment of echoed and wah-wah-ed trumpet timbres over rock-informed drum 'n' bass grooves. Beautiful Lily reunites pianist Marc Copland and drummer Bill Stewart from No Words, along with bassist Drew Gress, for a meditative suite of tone poetry. Punctuated by brief interludes of trumpet-piano dialogues, the stanzas run together of a piece, creating an overarching mood of intelligent introspection. Miles' presence is palpable: in the jagged yet lyrical chromaticism of Hagans' lines, and in the poignant postmodernism of his tone.
Scott Kinsey joined Scott Henderson and Gary Willis' Tribal Tech, where he's made key(board) contributions as a soloist, composer, colorist and producer. In 1999 he recorded and toured with Hagans' Animation-Imagination, a project inspired by electric-era Davis. Kinsey has also kept busy collaborating with a variety for fusion-friendly improvisers and recording movie soundtracks. For Kinesthetics, his major debut as a leader, he rounded up an elite posse of LA-lian pyrotechnicians, notably Henderson (guitar), Willis (bass) and drummer Kirk Kovington (all Tech-ies), multi-reedist and EWI-ist Steve Tavaglione and a host of others, including Hagans. Kinsey is all over the sonic globe on this one, with a varied and idiosyncratic tonal palette that morphs and transmogrifies as much as his improvisations. Densely layered, the tracks nevertheless come off breezily, as if all was a lark; the world beats are busy and poly-voiced but still manage to rub up against the groove bone.
In December 2006, these two sons-of-Miles convened at Merkin Hall in Manhattan for "Animation: Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. Led by soprano saxophonist Bob Belden and also featuring Matt Garrison, Bill Laswell, Billy Kilson, Guy Licata, and DJ Logic, the concert was an album-length live rendition of the musical splash-felt-'round-the-worldjust one more example of how the music of Miles keeps on rippling.
Tracks & Personnel
Tracks: Prologue; Space Dozen; Beautiful Lily; Doyle's Foil; Interlude I; The Sun at the Zenith; Buck Eyes; Interlude II; Footprints; Emazing; Epilogue.
Personnel: Tim Hagans: trumpet; Marc Copland: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.
Tracks: Kinesthetics; This is That; Sometimes I...; The Combat Zone; Quartet; Wishing Tree; Big Rock; Uncle Pat's Gypsy Van; Under Radar Intro; Under Radar; Shinjuku; One for Jinshi.
Personnel: Scott Kinsey: keyboards, piano, melodica, vocoder, VP-1; Steve Tavaglione: tenor & soprano saxophones, C & alto flutes, Bb & bass clarinets, EWI; Scott Henderson, Michael Landau & Jinshi Ozaki: guitars; Tim Hagans & Walt Fowler: trumpets; Jimmy Earl, Gary Willis, Abraham Laboriel Sr., Armand Sabai-Lecco, Robert Hurst III & Paul Shihadeh: basses; Brad Dutz, Alex Acuna, Arto Tuncboyaciyan & Satnam Ramgotra: percussion; Kirk Covington, Cyril Atef, Vinnie Colaiuta & Ronald Bruner Jr.: drums.