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Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Miles Davis Tutu album cover
2.61 | 94 ratings | 6 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tutu (5:15)
2. Tomaas (5:32)
3. Portia (6:18)
4. Splatch (4:45)
5. Backyard Ritual (4:49)
6. Perfect Way (4:32)
7. Don't Lose Your Mind (5:49)
8. Full Nelson (5:05)

Line-up / Musicians

- Miles Davis / trumpet

- Marcus Miller / programming, drum machine, bass clarinet, soprano sax, bass guitar (5), arranger
- George Duke / all other instruments & arranger & co-producer (5)
- Bernard Wright / synths (2,7)
- Adam Holzman / synth solo (4) & programming
- Jason Miles / synth programming
- Michal Urbaniak / electric violin (7)
- Omar Hakim / drums & percussion (2)
- Steve Reid / percussion (4)
- Paulinho Da Costa / percussion (1,3-5)

Releases information

Artwork: Irving Penn (photo) with Eiko Ishioka (art direction)

LP Warner Bros. ‎- 9 25490-1 (1986, US)

CD Warner Bros. ‎- 9 25490-2 (1986, US)
CD Warner Jazz ‎- 7599-25490-9 (2001, Europe)

Thanks to zafreth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MILES DAVIS Tutu Music

MILES DAVIS Tutu ratings distribution

(94 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

MILES DAVIS Tutu reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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

Review by Matthew T
2 stars I came across this album by Miles in my early days of listening to his music and thought I would give this album a go. What happened, by far this would be my least liked album that he has released and where is the Jazz. Marcus Miller was the man behind all this slick RnB background music to the album which Miles plays over.

Originality score is zero for me and although this album does not sound bad it has no impact at all. The sound of the tone of Miles's horn is there all muted not one open horn track does he play but even though I still enjoy hearing him play it does sound a bit a times as if he was just going through the motions.This album does not work at all and maybe could be used for music whilst on hold waiting to be answered on the phone.........

Released in 1986 and sounding every bit like it, this really is for collectors only. The music is just to slick and there is not one stand out track and the album seems to go from bland to blander. The use of a drum machine throughout does not endear me to this at all. Horses for courses and a drum machine with Miles, what was he thinking or maybe was it Marcus Miller who is a bass player and RaB producer. George Duke also makes an appearance.

I always believe that after the fusion was done with in Mile's career these later albums are nothing special and the best out of the bunch for me was Star People and this would be one of the poorer ones.

Collectors and Hard Core fans like me only.

Review by The Quiet One
2 stars A Tribute to Desmond Tutu

Ok, it is 1986, what can you expect from Miles? The unexpected, of course. I used to think that Frank Zappa was the most versatile musician that ever existed, but damn, Miles Davis is up there too, having played be-bop, hard bop, cool jazz, modal jazz, classical, jazz fusion, funk, "pop jazz", avant-garde and even hip-hop! Yeah, that's the definition of versatile, and in case you've wondered, those sub-genres of jazz are different from each other.

Where does Tutu stand? Well, knowing that it's the 80's and the overall bad rating that this album has, you thought "pop jazz", didn't you? Yes, it is "pop jazz", but not because of that it's bad. This album was planned to be worked with Prince, unfortunately that didn't go well.

So, what we have here are some easy-listening 80's jazzy instrumental tunes that are pleasant as most easy- listening music (easy-listening in the truest sense). There's really no highlight or special feature in this kind of music. The whole album is driven by drum-machines, yeah those that Collins & Co. also used in the 80's and were also flacked because of that. I can handle them, especially for this kind of music which fits, so it's really no big issue for me.

So what is the issue? It's just that it sounds uninspired and the tracks don't seem to differentiate much from each other, and that's something serious, there's not something that you can say: "Yeah, that's Miles alright". Still, it doesn't sound like crap; Miles offers nice melodies, the keyboards are mellow and give the 80's vibe that I like and there's even some cool slap bass going on that me reminds of the music featured in Seinfeld, but all these elements were surely the norm back in the 80's for this type of smooth jazz, so it's not something new.

2 stars: mediocre overall, but the style that is presented here is not bad, though surely bad for most Prog fans that can't stand the 80's or easy-listening music. Good for background music and if you're in an 80's mood too, though easily forgettable.

Review by J-Man
2 stars Tutu was originally planned as a collaboration album between Miles Davis and pop musician Prince, but since that didn't work out, this 1986 release eventually became a project between Davis and multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller. Miller ended up writing most of the material for this album, as well as playing the bass guitar and a variety of other instruments. This collaboration may seem like something to get excited about, but unfortunately Tutu offers very little in the way of excitement. Even though Miles's muted trumpet solos are as impressive as ever and the musicianship is excellent, Tutu just isn't all that interesting of an album. Like You're Under Arrest, Tutu sports a rather generic eighties' jazz/pop sound that's marred by fairly uninteresting songwriting and a trivial production - I can't say I'm the biggest fan of either of those. Tutu is only recommended to fans of uninspired eighties' jazz/pop and Miles Davis die-hard collectors. Otherwise, this is one of his most easily skippable albums.

The music on Tutu is undoubtedly pretty similar to what Miles Davis did on his previous outing. This is fairly straightforward jazz/pop music with a strong emphasis on catchy melodic songwriting and trumpet solos. Although I'm not opposed to jazz/pop music on principle, it seems like Miles lost a lot of his inspiration when he began to explore this style - the arrangements are bland and uninteresting, and the songwriting (which is not entirely his fault) fails to captivate me. I'd even venture to say that Tutu is weaker than the heavily uninspired You're Under Arrest - aside from the excellent title track, the funky slap bass playing, and the great trumpet solos, there's very little here to make my blood boil. The production, while still sounding very professional, is simply too over- produced and synthetic for my liking. Tutu would've probably been a lot more enjoyable with a more organic production.

Even though Miles Davis wasn't exactly on a 'hot streak' when Tutu came out, this 1986 effort can easily be marked as one of the weakest albums throughout his long and illustrious career. There's simply not very much material here to get excited about, and I can really only recommend this one to die-hard Miles Davis fans. Since Tutu is just a tad weaker than You're Under Arrest, I'll have to play my 2 star card in this case. Even though not a total disaster in my opinion, this is very far from a great Miles Davis record.

Latest members reviews

1 stars Birth Of The Cool. Kind Of Blue. Sketches of Spain. Bitches Brew. Tutu. Which of those albums doesn't belong? Tutu is Miles Davis' only album post-Bitches Brew that I regularly see in music stores, and I'm not sure why. The great majority of the compositions on Tutu were written and reco ... (read more)

Report this review (#229753) | Posted by Stooge | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This review is for the 2011 two-disc deluxe edition of Miles Davis' 1986 album Tutu. Most fans do not look back on the 1980s as a great time for prog, classic rock, jazz, and blues. Reviews of Tutu on this site reflect that feeling. While the album was a popular and commercial success, and garn ... (read more)

Report this review (#179947) | Posted by DocB | Monday, August 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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