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Chris Kelsey & What I Say: The Electric Miles Project

C. Michael Bailey By

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It takes no shortage of fortitude for contemporary artists to take on the electric Miles Davis. Banking off of his seminal Bitches' Brew (Columbia, 1970), the trumpeter headed for looser, louder and funkier fare, culminating in the twin two-disc releases, Agartha (Columbia, 1975) and Pangea (Columbia, 1976), two shows performed in the afternoon and evening of February 1, 1975 at Japan's Osaka Festival Hall. Laden with electric guitar, seditious percussion and an assortment of effects, Davis spins noisy magic off a single chord, a magic saxophonist Chris Kelsey captures on his The Electric Miles Project.

Kelsey chooses pieces from Agartha, Directions (Columbia, 1981), Big Fun (Columbia, 1974) and Live-Evil (Columbia, 1971). The saxophonist's leadership and approach is like that of Davis, leading the musicians in a certain direction and then stepping away to see where things go. The results are a ruminating "Mad Love Pt. 1," featuring Kelsey's straight alto saxophone channeling Gary Bartz and ending with a frantic "Mad Love Pt. 2," which has guitarists Jack DeSalvo and Rolf Sturm dueling as if part of A Game Of Thrones.

This is reckless, ill-behaved music that will forever have to justify itself to the traditional jazz purist. That said, it is also the artistic convulsion or psychotic break necessary to shake loose the "new" so evolution may occur. In that, Kelsey captures the spirit of Davis well.

Track Listing: Agharta Prelude; Mad Love Pt. 1; Directions; Ife; Sivad; Mad Love Pt. 2.

Personnel: Chris Kelsey: soprano and straight alto saxophones; Rolf Sturm: electric guitar (left channel); Jack DeSalvo: electric guitar (right channel); Joe Gallant: six-string bass; Dean Sharp: drums.

Title: The Electric Miles Project | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


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