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Miles Davis - A Tribute to Jack Johnson CD (album) cover

A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON

Miles Davis

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.23 | 139 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

After the astounding success of Bitches Brew, Davis took another risk, by presenting an album that was the soundtrack of a documentary of Jack Johnson, one of the first Afro-American to win the boxing crown (Boxing was one of Miles' fascinations) and the way some racist made him pay for it. Although the front artwork of this album shows Miles into one of his classic "pose" on stage, I always wondered why the back cover never made the front, because it is much more " propos" of the music and it's supposed subject.. Compared with the previous BB album, Miles' group has dwindled a bit, keeping Grossman, McL Cobham, , Grossman and Hancock (although he had his own formation called Mwandishi by now) and newcomer Henderson on bass.

Just two tracks, but this time (clocking at over 50 minutes), there is no doubt about it, Miles chose rock instead of jazz or that uncomfortable condition between the two. Originazlly intended with Buddy Miles (of Hendrix's band) on drums, Cobham shines as does McL (the two will leave Miles to found Mahavishnu Orchestra) with some of most incendiary riffs ever played .. With Hancock's rather discreet tenure of the keys, Steve Grossman's sax gives a good response to miles' trumpet throughout the album, but outside Miles, this John's album as well. The end of Right Off is a smoking moment that can only convince some that heavy metal was in Miles' reach had he chosen to. Having never seen the documentary film, I suppose I lose a lot of the pertinence of the music in the second track Yesteryear, where there are obvious moments where the images dictate the music and not the other way.

The remastered version brings nothing new in terms of bonus track, but provide a few interesting pictures of Miles in the ring, and the usual excellent light-shedding liner notes. Just as essential as BB, it's not perfect either, as you can imagine there are some lengths here and there.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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