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Miles Davis - We Want Miles CD (album) cover


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.48 | 27 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The return of Miles Davis to the public spotlight in the early 1980s, after falling off the map for almost six years, saw the Fusion beast of the mid '70s finally tamed and on a tighter stylistic leash. The trumpet player who took the stage in the summer and autumn of 1981 was a more easy-on-the-ears bandleader compared to the "seriously brutal artist" of the earlier decade (quoting guitarist and fan Carlos Santana). History, failing health, and creative fatigue had finally caught up to the aging Davis, a trendsetting pioneer reduced to following in the footsteps of his own protégés, notably aping the milder Jazz Rock fusions of WEATHER REPORT.

And yet his playing seems oddly stronger here than it was in those frantic, drug-fueled gigs caught on the "Agharta / Pangaea" and "Dark Magus" albums. And his new back-up band was solid, if nowhere near as incandescent or experimental as the thermonuclear ensembles of the middle '70s. Drummer Al Foster was the only remaining musician in the reconfigured line-up, now paired with twenty-two year old bassist Marcus Miller, soon to become a fixture on Davis albums and a stabilizing factor in his mentor's professional life.

The set-list from these concerts, recorded in Tokyo and the eastern U.S. seaboard, was more pleasantly jam-oriented than the often pyrotechnic improvisations of earlier bands, the difference immediately apparent in the late-career signature melody "Jean-Pierre" (included twice in this set). Needless to say, the simple, childlike song is a long way from the elegant sophistication of "So What", but it's a catchy little tune, and oddly playful coming from such an uncompromising musical agitator.

Of course in 1982 we should have been grateful to hear anything at all from the aging and reclusive legend. So how come the album has never (to date) been released on CD in North America? Never mind the cultural insult; in purely commercial terms the oversight makes little sense, although it might explain why so many fans, this relative newbie included, were hardly aware the album even existed. Don't expect a masterpiece, but on its own terms it works surprisingly well, far better than some of the Miles Davis studio albums from the same period.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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