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Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Miles Davis Miles Davis Quintet: Miles Smiles album cover
4.17 | 153 ratings | 8 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1966

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Orbits (4:35)
2. Circle (5:52)
3. Footprints (9:44)
4. Dolores (6:20)
5. Freedom Jazz Dance (7:11)
6. Gingerbread Boy (7:40)

Total Time 41:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Miles Davis / trumpet
- Wayne Shorter / saxophone
- Herbie Hancock / piano
- Ronald Carter / double bass
- Anthony Williams / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Vernon Smith (photo)

LP Columbia ‎- CS 9401 (1966, US)

CD Columbia ‎- CK 48849 (1992, US) Remastered by Vic Anesini
CD Columbia ‎- CK 65682 (1998, US) 20-bit remaster by Mark Wilder & Rob Schwarz

Thanks to zafreth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MILES DAVIS Miles Davis Quintet: Miles Smiles Music

MILES DAVIS Miles Davis Quintet: Miles Smiles ratings distribution

(153 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MILES DAVIS Miles Davis Quintet: Miles Smiles reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Evolver smiles, too.

This quintet of Davis, Hancock, Shorter, Carter and Williams is one of the best ever assembled in jazz, certainly the best of this era. The performance of every song here is splendid. The recording quality is good for it's mid 1960s vintage.

The songs are all high quality melodic bebop, with an emphasis on extended soloing by the three masters, Davis, Shorter and Hancock. Ron Carter and Tony Williams generally lay back, providing the foundation for the rest of the band to play off of.

While there is no prog here, as this was a few years before Miles went off experimenting with electric fusion, the compositions and playing are so high caliber that this could find a place in any music lover's collection.

4 stars, only bacause of no prog.

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars The middle of the 60's was time that shifted to the stage where the world of the following Jazz was created from the mode for Miles Davis. Intense of Sax player's changing places might have been one Kan of the challenge of Miles Davis to music in the flow that kept being performed aggressively. His music in the middle of the 60's always certainly continued a high-quality performance. It inevitably conceived the presentiment that received one the top for musicians who enclosed Miles Davis and surroundings.

Miles Davis will receive Wayne Shorter in own band in January, 1965. He is made to join the combo as Sax player and it begins the recording of "E. S.P.". However, Miles is hospitalized for the operation on the thighbone immediately after that. However, Miles to accomplish live at the last few days of the year starts the recording of the second work of this new Quintet in October, 1966. It is this "Miles Smiles".

An obviously obvious difference point can be found by comparing "E. S.P." of the former work and this album. The performance with this Quintet has some respects. Point that element of Jazz of standard is considerably excluded compared with performance till then. And, the element to which jazz by the mode that Miles voluntarily built is developed further. Point to make listener imagine constant line and to present some aspects of improvisation. Or, it gets rid of Harmony. Making the sound of the code is resolved as one of the concepts of mode Jazz and there is a diagram that attempts the decentralization of the ad-lib. The feeling restrained to the element might go out to the average of the performance if musical instruments that each musician and of course one person play originate harmony. However, Miles was ordered to exclude this element to the piano that especially put out harmony easily. Miles prohibited the performance in Harmony to Herbie Hancock as much as possible in a word. A composition advanced to straight line directionality at once from the theme of each tune gives the listener the impression in an abstract element and a sense part.

It gets rid of a basic rhythm of jazz as an element of this album. That is, it can be thought that the development of the rhythm and the element by degree of freedom are strong. The idea that Tony Williams in addition to the rhythm of the free flow that jazz originally has took obviously becomes a part of the circle while devoted to the role to help Solist for the maintenance of the rhythm till then and has expanded the width of Improvisation. The speed of the correspondence of the accurate sheath flexibility of the rhythm of Tony Williams and the response might have been live proven of course. Those ideas can be discovered also with this album. Especially, the conversion of the battuta in "Footprints" strikes close to home to the listener. There is indeed no sense of incompatibility and a splendid jugglery is imagined momentarily move from the performance legato free to 6/8 Afro's patterns. It has the flow that bases "Freedom Jazz Dance" added to one of standard back on three ream [**] and runs to the rhythm of the lock. It might be a performance that this performance is made only this Quintet, too. And, the presentiment that appears to the work of the following Miles might already been conceived.

Miles put the expectation in the performance with an able musician who always had the desire. And, it knows a wonderful experience can be done momentarily at the time of united into one by the element. The work at this time might project considerably in the work that is called Quintet of gold. Of course, it is possible to think about "E. S.P." and this album as a pair. And, if the work of Miles at this time is pursued, the line will have to be drawn at a wonderful element of "Nefertiti" gripping the flow from "E. S.P.".

Review by Matthew T
5 stars Miles Smiles is regarded as one of his best Jazz albums and for good reason. This was his 2nd album with the Quintet comprising of Wayne Shorter on Tenor Saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on Bass and Tony Williams on drums. Recorded in October 1966 over 2 sessions with every track on this album performed beautifully with what seems like seamless interchange with the solos between Miles and Wayne Shorter without mentioning the playing of Herbie Hancock. The rythmn section comprisng of Ron Carter and Tony Williams to me are the major reason this album is so perfect. When speaking about this album everybody comments on the playing of Miles and Wayne but if not for the solid driving bass provided by Ron Carter where would this album be. His timing is fantastic and what a motor for any band not to mention the drumming of Tony Williams who provided the wheels for this album.

Proceedings commence with Orbits where Miles and Wayne start the tune together and then Miles takes off, Wayne and Herbie follow respectively with superb solos and then the tune again with Miles and Wayne. Track 2 Circles is a ballad with Miles on muted horn and the solos run in the same arder as Orbits. The following tracks throughout are excellent with Footprints followed by the driving Dolores. The tune Freedom Jazz Dance is is Tony Williams really showing his talent as the young red hot Jazz drummer that he was. The album finishes off with one of my favourite tunes performed by this Quintet and that is Ginger Bread Boy. Great driving solos with that loopy intro to the number and the drumming of Tony Williams, Carters bass providing a constant throb throughout with the solos getting more frenzied as they progress. Fantastic and what a number with Miles making a comment to Teo Macero and the very end.

This is one of his great albums for me and a Tour de Force as they say in France. Pure Jazz.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second Miles Davis albums with his new Quintet is almost excellent album of post-bop jazz. Miles continues to explore new sounds and structures, his music is gone from cool jazz and hard-bop to more modern sound, and the musicians are all future stars: Herbie Hancock ( piano),Ron Carter ( bass),Wayne Shorter ( saxophone) and Tony Williams ( drums). All of them very soon will be a part of jazz-fusion revolution. But don't be mistaken - this album is still far from that.

Excellent musicianship will please any post-bop lover. One of the great albums from pre-fusion era.

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars This is it, the other modern jazz. While Coltrane, Ornette and Ayler were attracting a lot of attention with their talk of 'freedom' while attempting to bring down Jericho with their horns, Miles and his crew charted a more disciplined course and ended up with a style that was more of an influence than the freedom gang in the long run. Miles makes it clear from the first notes on this album that he's not taking any shorts. 'Orbits' kicks things off with a brief abstract melody before Miles heads straight for the solo with a full aggressive brassy attack. If there is a standard repeating harmonic chord structure to this tune, it is really hard to tell. The soloists teeter on the edge of outside atonality, and then reel it in with the occasional hard bop riff.

'Circle' finds the band in a mellow mood and it is the only ballad on the whole album. Miles has the mute on for this one and Herbie's playing is lush and classical in that way that he always is on the quintet's slower numbers. 'Footprints' follows with an abstract post bop rhythm and simple bluesy harmonic changes that give the soloists any easy modal drone to go off on. This one leaves a lot of room for Tony Williams totally revolutionary approach to rhythmic subdivisions while he interacts with Herbie's busy comping that borders on polyphony with the soloist. This whole band was incredibly talented, but it was Tony and Herbie that really pushed them to the abstract extremes and a whole new language in jazz.

Side two picks up where the album opener left off with three more high energy semi-free post bop numbers that seem to carry some cross-influence with Ornette's semi-bluesy approach to the new freedom in jazz. This is a great album, Miles plays hard throughout like he means business and the rest of the band follow with rhythmic and harmonic inventions that would become the hallmark of the post bop sound for generations to come.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Davis, Shorter and Hancock were a force of jazz fusion and they absolutely shine on "Miles Smiles". This early jazz fusion album encompasses the jazz genre. The drumming is manic and constantly knocking out of time sig, and the bassline is non stop be bop rhythms. Over this framework sax and trumpets blaze with illuminated genius. Davis is a pioneer and has a plethora of albums to sink into. Some are better than other and "Miles Smiles" is full blown jazzing improvisation. It is not as progressive as the sound gets on subsequent albums but nevertheless there is a compelling inventive style engrained in the music.

Orbits is a wonderful opener with a fast bassline and drums as Miles blows the heck out of his trumpet. Hancock has a field day on piano as does Shorter on sax. The intense music is exciting and adventurous throughout. Footprints features jazzy hi hat timpani and Miles delightful trumpet with the sax following the melody harmoniously. The melody reminds me of a late night driving in rain soaked streets. Full of urgency and the rhythm of the late night, the sound is a jazz feast and virtuosos musicianship.

Dolores is another quick tempo track with lashings of trumpet and bright hyper percussion. The sax of Shorter takes over as dominant lead and drives the track to a stirring conclusion.

Another highlight is Gingerbread Boy with chaotic percussion and bass while sax and trumpet compete to take over as lead instrument. The intensity of the free form jazz sound is astounding and it is nice to hear Herbie Hancock's piano take a turn on the track. The glistening piano runs are inspiring and full of dynamic motifs and vigorous energy. The crashing cymbals and drums of Tony Williams are a key feature but no one can top Miles' trumpet explosions.

This is certainly a good place to start to hear jazz fusion at its best, but Davis would produce more progressive sounding albums over the next years that would appeal more to the progger. Nonetheless this album is an essential listen for jazz addicts.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Continuing his experiments in modal jazz as an alternative to the disparate free playing which was the other major strand in cutting-edge jazz experimentation, Miles Smiles might not be the most immediately arresting Davis album, but it's both entertaining and an intriguing look at the final stages of his all-acoustic sound. It would only be a couple of years before electric instruments began working their way into Miles' sound, provoking his fusion phase, but despite retaining traditional instrumentation Davis creates a complex and intriguing work which rewards repeated, careful listens. Not on the top tier of his work, but an important foundation for what followed.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The best of the 60s quintet. Such an unassuming album cover, one would hardly expect the music to be so excellent. This is in my opinion the very best of Miles' 1960s quintet, which itself was one of Miles' best-ever bands. My wife is not keen on progressive rock or fusion but thankfully she love ... (read more)

Report this review (#1696989) | Posted by Walkscore | Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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