40

Miles Davis: We Want Miles (Bonus Track Version)

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Miles Davis: We Want Miles (Bonus Track Version) The audaciously titled We Want Miles has one of the more interesting histories in the catalog of trumpeter Miles Davis. Originally released by Columbia Records in 1982, it was not made widely available outside of Japan where it was recorded live in 1981. For those who managed to find it, it was both celebrated and vilified. This new reissue (with additional material) illuminates that debate. We Want Miles was the first live recording of Davis' return to music following a five-year health related sabbatical. His previous release, The Man with The Horn (Columbia, 1981), with un-Miles like pop orientation, was met with less than enthusiastic response by many.

Initially released as the Tokyo set of performances only, the bonus tracks edition of We Want Miles includes additional 1981 performances from New York and Boston and features the same band. "Jean-Pierre" opens the Tokyo set and Mike Stern's bluesy guitar drenched performance would be at home on an Alvin Lee album. It is notable for an absence of Davis who takes a back seat on this piece and makes Columbia's decision to include two versions of "Jean-Pierre" an odd one. Though We Want Miles is typically filed under jazz/rock fusion, it is less fusion and more of a trade-off between genres. It is Stern's presence in fact that influences much of the material's categorization. When the guitarist is in the lead, this is a rock album.

The genre-shift is evident with "Back Seat Betty" a composition more easily flagged as representative of the Davis repertoire. His presence here is stronger, his sound fuller though there is still a hesitancy that suggests Davis is struggling to find his form. It is one of the bonus tracks, "My Man's Gone Now" that stands out on many levels. Percussionist Mino Cinelu and saxophonist Bill Evans are among the exceptional solos that redeem the collection through this piece. Here Davis is the most within himself, interrogating his bandmates and directing the narrative with a command that plays more to his strength.

We Want Miles is an interesting and disconcerting collection containing some unquestionably great performances along with less than stellar moments. Legend has it that despite failing health, continued substance abuse and five years away from music, Davis was moved to return to the spotlight by the deaths of pianist Bill Evans and Charles Mingus. Always a searcher, it may be a blip on the radar that some of the early second-career efforts of Davis were small steps in his evolution. In fact, many of his subsequent albums such as Tutu (Warner Bros, 1986), Aura (Columbia, 1989) and Amandla (Warner Bros, 1989) were befitting conclusions to his great career. The enormous scope of the Davis catalog doesn't make We Want Miles a musical necessity; its value is more as a historical benchmark in Davis' evolution and, in particular, the later phase of his career.

Track Listing: Jean-Pierre; Back Seat Betty; Fast Track; Jean-Pierre; Ursula; Aida; My Man’s Gone Now; Kix; Fat Time.

Personnel: Miles Davis: trumpet; Mike Stern: guitar; Mino Cinelu: Percussion; Bill Evans: Soprano saxophone; Al Foster: drums; Marcus Miller: bass.

Title: We Want Miles (Bonus Track Version) | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Columbia Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Joyride" CD/LP/Track Review Joyride
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Double Strike" CD/LP/Track Review Double Strike
by James Nadal
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "The Motorman's Son" CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Godspeed" CD/LP/Track Review Godspeed
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Monte Alban" CD/LP/Track Review Monte Alban
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "The Other Shore" CD/LP/Track Review The Other Shore
by John Sharpe
Published: September 26, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.