149

Yo Miles! Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith: Upriver

Jeff Stockton By

Sign in to view read count
Yo Miles! Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith: Upriver Last year the Yo Miles! collective released Sky Garden (Cuneiform), a two-disc set that surveyed ("covered" trivializes its accomplishment) Miles Davis' brand of funky '70s jazz fusion. At over two and a half hours, it was a massive slab of music. Upriver is also a massive slab. And once again it begs the question, "Does the world need another 25-minute version of 'Bitches Brew'?

Yo Miles! speaks to the affirmative. The group is larger than the band Miles led on Agharta and Pangaea by a couple of guitars and an extra saxophone, but what Yo Miles! loses in menace and Ef You attitude, it gains in commitment, enthusiasm and virtuosity. Unlike Sky Garden, which was roughly half original compositions, Upriver offers only two: a three-minute group jam that is a drop in this bucket, and co-leader and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's "Thunder and Lightning, which taps Miles' vibe and sensibility (and track time) without resorting to imitation.

Two other tracks in particular stand out. "On the Corner Jam puts Miles alumnus Zakir Hussain's tabla up against Greg Osby's alto, and the pair attacks the groove with mind-blowing inventiveness. On "Tatu/Agharta Funk, guitarists Mike Keneally, Chris Muir and co-leader Henry Kaiser fuzz-out and wah-wah as if they were competing in a cutting contest based on the "Theme from Shaft.

The rest washes over you like radiator heat. Kaiser has made a point of recording the Yo Miles! sessions to audiophile standards, and the band benefits from the pure, crystal clear, spacious sound. Michael Manring's fretless bass demonstrates what Miles could have done with Jaco, his notes vibrating like uncoiled springs, and Tom Coster's keyboards jab and punctuate shorter movements within longer tunes.

But I keep returning to Greg Osby, who, if you consider his marvelous trio recording Channel Three (Blue Note), had quite a year in 2005. Cut after cut, his perfectly formed and rhythmically conceived solos prove that Miles' influence extends well beyond the trumpet.


Track Listing: Disc One: Go Ahead John; On the Corner Jam; What I Say; Bitches Brew Disc Two: Tatu/Agharta Funk; Tune in 5/One Phone Call; Corrado; Macero; Yesterfunk; Thunder & Lightning; Jabali (Part III); Black Satin (slight return).

Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith: electric and acoustic trumpets; Henry Kaiser: electric guitar; Michael Manring: bass; Steve Smith: drums; Chris Muir: electric guitar; Tom Coster: keyboards; Karl Perazzo: percussion; Greg Osby: alto saxophone; John Tchicai: tenor and soprano saxophones; Mike Keneally: electric guitar) Guests: Zakir Hussain: tabla and percussion on On the Corner Jam"; ROVA Sax Quartet: Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs, John Raskin on Black Satin"; Dave Creamer: electric guitar (CD2#8).

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Download Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Roy Hargrove Roy Hargrove
trumpet
Claudio Roditi Claudio Roditi
trumpet
Art Farmer Art Farmer
flugelhorn
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Marcus Printup Marcus Printup
trumpet
Dave Douglas Dave Douglas
trumpet
Enrico Rava Enrico Rava
trumpet
Carla Bley Carla Bley
piano
Nels Cline Nels Cline
guitar, electric
Clark Terry Clark Terry
trumpet
Archie Shepp Archie Shepp
saxophone

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Sign of the Crow" CD/LP/Track Review Sign of the Crow
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "In Hollywood, 1971" CD/LP/Track Review In Hollywood, 1971
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "All Hot Bodies Radiate" CD/LP/Track Review All Hot Bodies Radiate
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: May 26, 2016
Read "Rising Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Grace
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Laughing At Life" CD/LP/Track Review Laughing At Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Awakening" CD/LP/Track Review Awakening
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 5, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!