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 The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Live in Seattle" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Seattle
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "Sir Nebula" CD/LP/Track Review Sir Nebula
by Doug Collette
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Mind Behind Closed Eyes" CD/LP/Track Review Mind Behind Closed Eyes
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Samba Gostoso" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Gostoso
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Linus + Skarbø / Leroux" CD/LP/Track Review Linus + Skarbø / Leroux
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!