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Miles Davis - Tutu CD (album) cover

TUTU

Miles Davis

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.39 | 44 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Goodbye jazz fusion and hello slick sophisticated jazzy pop. The release of Tutu in 1986 marked another turning point in the career of Miles Davis. Faster than you can say Cicely Tyson, Miles dropped his jazz fusion career and turned instead to the new hip hop influenced RnB style of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who had been turning out modernistic hits for The Time and Janet Jackson. Yeah, this is the Miles album with a drum machine. He lost the jazz purists by going fusion, and now with Tutu he has lost the fusion purists. Since Jam and Lewis aren't on board for this album, Miles turned to his outstanding bassist, Marcus Miller, to supply the Jam/Lewis styled beat programming and production. Miller also writes most of the songs, plays bass and soprano sax as well, basically this is a Marcus Miller album that Miles plays trumpet on.

I used to listen to this album almost everyday back in the mid-80s, it made for great background music for slightly aging wannabe hipsters at dinner time. It also provided hip background music for Gap clothing customers, Whole Earth stores and urban restaurants all across the states. Like most music from the 80s, this album hasn't aged well, a lot of the songs are not remarkable enough to rise above their plastic 80s sound.

The songs on here that fare the best under the harsh glare of the seen-it-all 21st century include; the Spanish flavored Portia, which recalls Sketches of Spain, and the upbeat Splatch which sounds like Miles sitting in with Prince's band. The reggae tune Don't Lose Your Way is nice and features a surprise appearance by 70s icon Michael Urbaniak on violin.

There is one tune on here that really stands out and still sounds great after all these years, Miles' cover of the pop hit Perfect Way. This song is 100% pure squeaky clean glib materialistic na´ve 80s ear candy and I bet Ronald Reagan loved it, in fact I'm surprised he didn't craft his campaign for prez around it. "I found a perfect way . that's right folks I'm cutting taxes for large corporations . "I found a . and so on. Anyway, despite that awful image it's still a great song, it's happy music for the 'happy' 80s.

Miles playing on here is strange and offbeat. The mute never leaves the end of his trumpet as he weaves non-typical and often purposefully slightly-out-of-tune quirky lines around Miller's perfectly shiny electronic production. This really isn't a bad album, Miller's synthesized orchestrations are excellent and often pay tribute to Gil Evans, but this album is so 80s sounding that I'm only recommending it to fans of Miles' pop music, and people who like that 80s sound, there has to be a few of you out there somewhere

js (Easy Money) | 2/5 |

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