With all due respect to Lettuce's A Tribute to Miles DavisWitches Stew (Self Produced, 2017) and the all-star ensemble dubbed Bitches Brew Revisited, M.E.B. (formerly known as Miles Electric Band) is an inordinately creative homage to Miles Davis. And given the continually experimental path The "Man With The Horn" chose to follow throughout his career, it is no doubt one of which he would approve.
That You Not Dare To Forget is a slightly less than half-hour audio collage incorporating previously and newly-recorded samples of music, sound effects and a myriad of post-production touches. As such, the album is ideal for headphone listening, but the LP compels close listening no matter the approach, if only to discern where one component leaves off and another begins. Sonic threads inextricably interweave and/or fully mesh in overlap on "Hail to the Real Chief (Long Version)," but John Scofield's sinuous guitar is nonetheless a highlight there, befitting his 1980s tenure in the late jazz icon's band.
The other three of the five tracks work much the same way, with the varied ingredients all leavening the mix. Produced by Grammy Award-winners Lenny White and Vince Wilburn Jr.both of whom played with Davis at different junctures of his career. "Bitches Are Back" is built around a found trumpet recording combined with new playing by legendary bassist Ron Carter and drummers Wilburn and White. Plus, it features a sample of the song "Bridging The Gap" by Nas as well as a new rap by Blu and scratches by DJ Arkitek.
The cinematic scope of the sound here, combined with the rhythmic wordplay, conjures an almost hallucinatory sense of time passing, slowly at first, then faster and back again. "Over My Shoulder" is a bit more conventional, with horns jousting back and forth with Living Colour's Vernon Reid's biting electric guitar. Yet that cut's placement in the track sequencing, as with the warm and tranquil "Mellow Kisses," only reaffirms the overall musicality of the arrangements here.
That You Not Dare To Forget is certainly of a piece with latter-day Miles albums like Tutu (Warner Bros, 1986), co-produced by bassist Marcus Miller who appears here. The title song, featuring Rashae Reeves' powerful spoken word performance, hearkens back even further into the past to A Tribute to Jack Johnson (Columbia, 1971).
Further emblematic of the length to which the producers and players so thoroughly devoted themselves to this project is the kaleidoscopic color scheme of the cover graphics. An original work by Afrofuturist painter Mikel Elam is the finishing touch on a set that redefines the phrase "complete package."
Hail to the Real Chief (Long Version); Bitches Are Back; Over My
Shoulder; Mellow Kisses; That You Not Dare To Forget.
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