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Miles Davis - Decoy CD (album) cover


Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Easy Money
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Decoy came out soon after the release of Star People. Although there are similarities, on Decoy Miles starts making his first ventures into a more electronic jazz-pop sound. Decoy is Miles at the crossroads, still clinging to his worn out free-rock jams on some cuts, but also taking some tentative shots at some kind of new merger of techno, jazz and pop on others.

The album opens with the song Decoy, a hard funk/jazz number with a slight 80s sound that isn't too bad. Marcus Miller's replacement on bass, Daryl Jones, is OK but no match for Miller. Robot 415 is a short piece of techno-jazz exotica that is kind of bizarre and interesting. Code M.D. is Miles' first attempt at forming a new kind of elegant pop-jazz based on modern rhythms and sounds. It's Ok for a first try, but future developments on subsequent albums will refine this idea. Side one closes with Freaky Deaky, a bit of forgetable fluff with an annoying persistent bass line.

Side two opens with What it Is, a classic high energy Miles styled hard rock blow-out. These kind of jams used to sound great in the early to mid 70s, but by the mid-80s are starting to sound passe, plus Miles' annoying horn-synth stabs don't help. All the same, John Scofield turns in some great guitar work. That's Right finds the band returning to the slow abstract blues style that filled up much of Star People. This style sounds even more tired this time around. Everyone turns in a nice solo, but soloing over slow blues is like shooting monkeys in a barrel. Side two closes with an even more furious hard rocker, That's What Happened, that has Miles and Schofield playing cool syncopated harsh unisons that are marred by that damn keyboard synth/horn section again.

This isn't a bad album and probably of interest to fans of Miles' fusion years. This will be the last album where Miles rocks out, and John Schofield and Al Foster turn in great performances to celebrate that fact.

Report this review (#267237)
Posted Saturday, February 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Miles transitional album from his great experimental electric fusion of 70-s to synth-pop-jazz of 80-s. And, what is pity, this album is last one, where his interesting rock-fusion playing still occurs. To be honest, not too much of it even here though.

Album's opener Decoy sounds still surprisingly heavy and full-bodied, funky and energetic. Still real Miles in his good form. But then things go down very fast....

Lightweight compositions, with simplistic electric keys, floating structure and faceless composition. Almost everything sounds as outtakes or just raw blueprint material, when searching new sound. Happily here and there experienced ear still can catch small moments of nice sounds and experimental steps, but in whole the music sound very uninspired and shows pop-jazz era is not too far.

What It Is? brings new portion of energetic attack, with strong trumpet and electric guitar interplay. But it's far not enough to save the album. Slow 11+ minutes ballade doesn't add the fire, and even fast "That's What Happened", album's last song, sound as expected trick.

In full, not a tragic album, and for sure have it's moments for real Miles fans, but too uninspired and formless to be attractive to others.

My rating 2+.

Report this review (#287869)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink

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