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Miles Davis - Filles De Kilimanjaro CD (album) cover


Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Throughout most of the 60's Miles' career was mainly axec to waeds his quintet, which develop a wad of albums, most of them not having a link with this site and I must say most fairly boring (IMHO). As the 60's grew, counter-culture and the opening of of most music styles to electricity was happening (even Folk had done so, some calling Dylan of Judas), jazz was resisting the electric movement and the jazz purists were no less fervent acoustic people than the folk purists, being careful and even preventing their syle from digression. When the first electric notes did appear, it came from the man with the horn himself, so the acoustic Ayatollahs couldn't do much about it. Actually it wasn't Miles himself that went electric, but one of the man in his band, Herbie Hancock, but it was at Miles' wish, since it is the Black Magus himself that bought the electric piano and offered it to HH. HH himself wasn't exactly sure himself whether he really wanted to try it out (privately I'm sure he relished, but publically, would he not face the Judas threats), but a job in Miles' band was definitely To be truthful, Miles was not alone claiming the electric judas label as the much more Obscure Charles Lloyd was definitely making open calls to young white audiences himself.

So, FDK is the first Davis' 60's quintet album where electricity appears and it appears under the electric piano form played by both Herbie and Chick Corea (not together, but alternatively) AND the electric bass, played only by Ron Carter (present when HH was), but not Dave Holland (present when CC was there). Trusting the French to adopt this new direction much more than the Anglo-Saxon world, Miles named the full album with French names. This trust and his general love of France was quite evident from his collabs (with Louis Malle's Ascensceur Pour L'Echaffaud) , but the amount of time he spent in France and now his girlfriend, Mrs. Maubry. It was also a time where the quintet was nearing it end as there are two version on this album: HH,RC & CC,DH. FDK is also an exceptional album for the times as it clocks at one hour (at least in its Cd version)

Starting on the shorter but energetic Frelon Brun (Brown wasp/hornet), where the group is charged up and ready to roll, CC not being as prominent azs HH except in the short solo at the end of the track. HH makes his piano heard right from the start of the much slower Tout de Suite (right now) but we remain in standard jazz territory. Adventurously-speaking, the title track (with HH) runs away with the gold medal on the flipside, while Mlle Maubry (Miles' muse of the moment) remains all too standard with CC on keys.

In short, we can say the two whiter dudes do not dare the afventures as hard as the two darker dudes, but where still way to far away I from a genre meddling and well too entrenched in the straight jazz realm to be calling this albums "prog". It's just slightly electrified jazz. One of the more interesting albums from Davis' 60's quintet, but not essential in terms of the scope of thios site.

Report this review (#179953)
Posted Monday, August 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Merits and demerits of John Coltrane that had died in 1967 left the aftereffect in the world of interim Jazz. 1968 year when this album had been produced might have been chaotic time where John Coltrane did not exist exactly. Miles might have been a situation in the age when Rock had started receiving citizenship worldwide according to various forms in which it groped for a new creation from the band of five person organization that had been done till then. It was not a translation said that a new musician did not exist at all of course in the item of Jazz. However, Jazz was obviously chaotic before the door in the 70's was opened. It is also true for people to avoid the item of Jazz and to have seen the future in the world of Rock.

Miles tried contact with a new musician to overturn the concept till then 1968. And, they started finding means of escape by boldly introducing electronic musical instruments in the age. Herbie Hancock resigns exactly from the combo for a further creation. And, Tony Williams started just moving the place of the activity to "Lifetime". It might have been a moment when each musician had started deriving exactly aiming at the age around Miles.

The album by which Miles had worked in the flow was "Miles In The Sky". Music on which five person gold till then worked faces the revolution with this album. Miles that took electronic musical instruments might already have voluntarily complicated the shape of the mode jazz. However, the fan of the fact where the age is always caught is good and it knows the sensibility of Miles. And, the listener might have had hope and some uneasy elements at the same time for the future of Jazz. However, the music that derives from "Miles In The Sky" becomes shape that this album keeps certain and it connects with "In A Silent Way". It will be able to be said that this fact was a major break for Miles. The keyboard of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea develops the mutually original world. After all, Ron Carter that dislikes performing Electric Bass also tries E-Bass according to Miles. And, Dave Holland takes charge of acoustic Bass by the tune. Fact to which five person gold till then began to collapse little by little. And, this time might be really time when the whole of the kingdom of music faced the revolution and the tohubohu , considering the fact where this album arose from the session. The flow of the tune is feeling that follows and develops the former work. However, it is not a translation to which it experiments on everything with electronic musical instruments. This is a footprint where the directionality of Miles was shown to the end. It is a result of already respectfully in Jimi and JB and materializing the electric wave that only Miles feels. Jimi and JB to which Miles had paid attention with Rock cut it into the kingdom of music in another route in the age, and as for Miles, the antenna was put, they were made to come round, and the wave of the counterplan might have given Miles the time of the revolution at that time. Wayne Shorter also obviously read the revolution. Its deriving to Weather Report, RTF, Mahavishnu, and Lifetime in the 70's came at once. And, king Miles might already have slipped out the item of Jazz.

Report this review (#222844)
Posted Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
4 stars Who's that on the cover? The one and only Mademoiselle Mabry!

Filles de Kilimanjaro sets the definition of a 'transitional album'. From this album, there's an after and before. While Davis first introduced the Rhodes and an electric guitar one year before in Miles in the Sky to his music, the compositions on that were still pretty much standard jazz, and when I say 'standard' I mean your standard Davis post-bop with his famous Quintet consisting of Tony Williams, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, so it's top-notch 'standard' jazz.

In Filles there's a split, with the exclusion of Hancock and Carter for the first time in 4 years, in the first and last tune, replaced by future "lasting" members, Chick Corea and Dave Holland. However, these two tunes aren't so interesting taking in consideration the pieces where Hancock participates. The opener, 'Frelon Brun', is an energetic jazz track featuring solos from Miles, Wayne and Chick, though the highlight for me is Tony Williams' quite fierceful fills, not your average jazz drummer, that you should already know. 'Mademoiselle Mabry', on the other hand, is a very gentle tune being mainly an extension and expansion of Hendrix's 'The Wind Cries Mary', it's a nice mix of blues and jazz.

Now to the more interesting pieces, these are 'Tout de Suite' and the title track. While 'Tout de Suite' introduces itself like another tranquil and night-mood jazz tune with relaxing electric keyboards and soft drumming, its middle section, however, lasting over 8 minutes, is like a loose sort-of jam very similar to 'Shhh/Peaceful' from In a Silent Way with Hancock playing those same fast twists in the keys while Tony and Ron keep a steady rhythm.

The title track also expands further the jazz realms as it would later be known in Bitches Brew. It has a repetitive, though engaging rhythm done by Carter's bass and Williams's drums, and on top of that there's Wayne, Herbie and Miles sharing notes and dueling pacifically. A proto-typical Miles composition of his 'electric/fusion' period.

So yes, Filles de Killimanjaro and Miles in the Sky are the albums where Miles would build on top of in the next couple of years. Though not as chilling as 'In a Silent Way' or as rocking as 'A Tribute to Jack Johnson', both Filles and Miles in the Sky are excellent records of jazz delving into a primitive style of fusion.

4 stars: excellent album which allows you to distinguish the keyboardist that are playing in 'In a Silent Way', since in that album both Corea and Hancock, plus Zawinul, are playing together unlike in Filles de Kilimanjaro which their keyboards are not mixed. Highly recommended if you're a fan of a more energetic and loosier jazz, and of course this is essential to understand how Miles' creativeness and compositional skills went progressing, as well as influences.

Report this review (#295679)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Miles Davis certainly has his fair share of well-known albums. Kind of Blue is quite possibly the most popular jazz album ever. Besides Kind of Blue, Miles has popular releases such as Sketches of Spain, In A Silent Way, Birth of the Cool, and Bitches Brew. However, there still lie little footnotes in the Miles Davis discography, including one that shows a pathway from Miles' earlier work to his electric outings. Filles De Kilimanjaro, recorded in 1968, puts together recordings from two different quintets Miles recorded with in the time of June to September. Paving the way for Bitches Brew, the entire album puts whichever pianist playing on an electric piano and when Ron Carter appears, he plays electric bass.

Filles De Kilimanjaro, although under the Miles Davis name, puts Miles Davis in a much more secondary role. Sure, Miles takes extenuated solos, wanting his fair share of time at the mic, but when he solos, he is not the standout musician. Tony Williams stands out as the best musician on the album, seemingly knowing Miles Davis and his tendencies so well that he finishes all his phrases for him. History says a lot of tension creeped up between Miles and Williams, maybe because of this reason. Whoever fills out the rest of the rhythm section, whether it be the completely electric combination of Carter and Hancock or the mixed combination of Corea and Holland, sound entirely innovative and fresh. Neither of the bassists revert to normal basslines, often playing sparse and accenting certain hits. The whole band, in both quintets, has an extreme awareness about each other and knows exactly where each soloist is going. Due to this lack of form and the constant outlook of many measures ahead, the album takes a more avant-garde feel. One member remains, that being Wayne Shorter. Wayne Shorter takes the same role as Miles, a soloist and purely a soloist. His solos, especially in the more uptempo songs, fit better than Miles' soloing. Also, Williams suits Shorter much better, playing much more aggressive yet not getting ahead of Shorter and finishing things off too early for him. The other two rhythm players gel just as easily with Shorter as they did with Miles.

Upon reading the track times for the album, this appears to be an album full of songs too long for their own good. However, due to the variety invoked by the quintet, most noticeably Williams, the songs continue on without bore or tire. Despite Miles making one of his worst appearances from a playing standpoint, he makes one of his best as a composer. Every song on the album is fully composed by him, rather than having many songs composed by two or more people. With a wave of change taking over the airwaves in the 60s including Beatlemania, Jimi Hendrix, and Sly and the Family Stone, Miles found a certain infatuation with the bluesy rock coming out of the guitar of Hendrix among other popular acts of the time. For that reason, among other reasons, Miles takes his jazz compositions to a new level with tinges of rock thrown in, including a direct reference to Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" on Mademoiselle Mabry. A 16 minute soother of sultry electric piano by Chick Corea, the sparse drum hits of Tony Williams, and the Hendrixian quotes in Holland's bass, Mademoiselle Mabry is built for a classic Miles Davis solo. Miles leaves all kinds of space open for his beautiful trumpet tone to shine across the airwaves. Due to this composing style, Miles has one of his best solos on the album mainly because the song suits his solo rather than the solo suits the song. This is the only song where Miles outshines Shorter in terms of soloing, but even in Miles' great soloing, Chick Corea's extensively fresh comping outshines all the other musicians.

Tout De Suite is an epic avant-garde jazz song full of all kinds of feel changes and nuance. The song opens with a disambiguated swing beat, but that changes throughout the song. Tout De Suite is avant-garde in its purest form, seeming to have no direction in terms of song form but still the entire quintet flows along together without losing any sense of connection. The song ranges from the laid back swing of the opening to an uptempo, almost fusion styled section led by the ferocious drumming of Williams. The section is a perfect showcase of Williams outdoing Miles and finishing all his phrases before Miles even gets the chance to start them. The song also shows a tired Miles Davis, pinching for his higher range and barely squeezing the notes out. Herbie Hancock makes a fantastic appearance on the Rhodes piano, a foreshadowing of his brilliance on the instrument to come in later years. In terms of soloing, Wayne Shorter makes one of his best appearances, taking the energy laid down by Williams and pushing Williams further into aggression and complexity. Never does Shorter sacrifice tone quality, even in his blisteringly fast runs. The entire rhythm section rises and falls with Shorter's intensity, knowing exactly where he is going. After a fantastic Herbie Hancock solo, although overshadowed by Shorter, the song reverts back to the laid-back feel and even throws in a quick All Blues reference from Kind of Blue. Tout De Suite is truly a brilliant song, showcasing the best of both the laid back and ferocious ability of the quintet.

All the way through, Filles de Kilimanjaro is a full out enjoyable listen, showcasing enough variety and virtuosity to not make the 70-minute album a tiring listen. Petits Machins showcases the best ability of each member of the band, arguably the best on the album although the shortest. A more uptempo and fiery the song, it is a welcome shorter listen after the epic Tout De Suite. The title track brings things down after the fiery Petits Machins, although gaining a bit of intensity in the middle. Frelon Brun simply serves as an album opener and just a taste of what's to come. The song, just surpassing five minutes, is an excellent choice to see the style of the album in a nutshell. For all jazz enthusiasts and jazz drummers especially, Filles de Kilimanjaro is a fantastic album and a lesser-known Miles album that definitely deserves more recognition and attention.

Report this review (#2165464)
Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | Review Permalink

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