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STAR PEOPLE

Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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js (Easy Money)
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3 stars Star People is Miles' second studio album after his much celebrated return from retirement. This is a good jazz fusion album full of stellar performances by some of the top players of the day, yet by Miles standards it seems to fall a little short. The problem is that even though this record came out in the early 80s, it features a more or less 70s style jazz-rock. Staying with the same style too long can rob your music of it's emotional impact. Star People has little of the chaotic rage of Live at the Fillmore or Dark Magus, nor does it have the quiet mystery of Pangea or Agharta. Also missing is the creativity and risk- taking of Big Fun or Get Up With It.

This album features three very up-tempo rockin fusion numbers that are quite good, if not a bit dated in style, two slow blues numbers that are less good, and an odd jazzy pop tune that is the 'star' of this album. The three up-tempo numbers feature the incredible bass work of Marcus Miller, the fiery guitar work of Mike Stern and the more abstract jazzy stylings of John Schofield. All three of these numbers really take off, but you begin to get the feeling you have heard Miles do this before, and with more passion.

The two blues numbers tend to drag on with nothing remarkable happening and both are marred with persistent ride cymbals and/or rim shots that are mixed way too loud. The fact that these two numbers are even on here is evidence that Miles was starting to run out of ideas. The best song on this album is U'n'I, a unique and totally charming pop tune that features an old school be-bop melody set on top of a laid back shuffling hip-hop beat. It sounds like a sunny day stroll in New York City while people visit from their stoops and children play on the sidewalk. This song shows where Miles would be heading as he started to shift from his 70s jazz-rock style towards his 90s sophisticated jazz pop.

This album isn't bad, the three fusion numbers are classic Miles rave ups, and the gem-like jazzy pop tune is one of a kind, but the two blues tunes sound like filler.

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Send comments to js (Easy Money) (BETA) | Report this review (#181830)
Posted Friday, September 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
snobb
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3 stars Miles Davis return to form after his long break in music. Even if with different team of musicians, the music has its roots in his works of late 70-s. Half of the album is up-tempo electric fusion, with accents on guitar and bass ( and both they sound better than just competent). New generation of fusion musicians made a really good support to Davis there on this album.

Slower (blues-based) compositions are not so interesting. I think, there are just not enough concentrated music, too bulky, not on the best Miles standard. But even like that, still listenable enough. There are many moments coming even from hard -bop era, which are incorporated in common sound quite successfully.

Even if better than average recording, album's music still sounds a bit dated, conservative and not innovative at the Davis ' standard. More connected with past, than oriented in future ( as best Davis works), this album stays still one of the last Miles Davis great electric jazz fusion albums. Not bad listening for everyone, must have work for Miles Davis electric jazz fusion fans.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#263753)
Posted Monday, February 01, 2010 | Review Permalink

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