Miles, the great divider.
Paul Bennun 2007-02-14
Miles, the great divider. At every stage of his career people of a certain age would listen to the new album, shake their heads and sagely dub the new tunes 'crud'. Poor musicianship, rubbish tunes, unfathomable production choices, terrible choice of producer or musician. In A Silent Way was tuneless. Agharta was musical gibberish ... and, in the period covered by this album, Tutu was vapid soul-by-numbers and "Time After Time" was a CYNDI LAUPER SONG FOR GOD'S SAKE. Frankly, you already have an opinion on this music, and if you don’t like it you’re in good company...the people who think it all went wrong with Filles De Kilimanjaro. You’re missing out just as badly, too.
However, it would be a huge mistake to consider The Warner Bros. Sessions as one musical period as the marketroids would like. The Marcus Miller period (bass-heavy super-syncopated blue grooves with a tricksy, sexy restlessness) shares very little with the neo-organic Michel Legrand work (uptempo acoustic bop), the brush with hip-hop, and the final "that's all folks" revisting of classic jazz with Quincy Jones at the end. In this reviewer's opinion, this album is no more then a selection of the most unmissable, important music from Miles' final period of activity. Even the Doo-Bop period songs (produced by where-is-he-now Mac-wrangler Easy Mo Bee) now come over all Nils Petter Molvaer in hindsight. Miles ahead, as always...