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Miles Davis - We Want Miles CD (album) cover


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.47 | 28 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars We Want Miles is Miles' first live album since his lengthy hiatus and finds him more or less picking up where he left off in the mid-70s, albeit with some changes for the new decade. The basic approach of his live music here has remained the same in that Davis is still working with very spare musical ideas and counting on talented side men to make something happen with his bare riffs and rhythms. Most of these songs are extended jams based on short melodies, or sometimes just a groove, but this sort of loose structure has served Miles very well over much of his career.

Although the music on here has a similar organizational approach to much of his music in the 70s, there are some distinct differences to these new Miles jams of the early 80s. Overall there is a much leaner and cleaner texture, soloists are often left with only bass and drums/percussion to back them up thereby leaving a lot of breathing room and space in the solos. Marcus Miller on bass lends a very modern and virtuostic approach to the bass that was lacking from previous Davis jams and Mike Stern brings a fresh 80s styled tapping oriented guitar solo sound to the band. It's that leaner texture though that makes this 80s version of the Miles jam session slightly inferior to much of his 70s work. This kind of improvised music thrives on a busy rhythm section and it's the reason for the great music found in records like Live at the Fillmore, with Corea and Jarret's ongoing 'keyboard battle', and Agharta, with Cosey and Lucas' intuitive guitar interplay. It's those doubled up rhythm sections filling in the background for the soloist to float on top of that made so many of those 70s recordings so great.

Having said all that, there is some excellent music on here. Mike stern's guitar player is incredible as he blends his be-bop chops with Miles' recommendation to put some Eddie Van Halen in his solos. Alex Foster's powerful drumming helps the new band's sparse approach to accompaniments work, as he is almost an orchestra in himself and can go from a whisper, to gradually building to a busy roar that fills every space and pushes soloists to their maximum. Throughout this album Miles and his crew hit some moments that match past glories, particularly when Miles or saxophonist Bill Evans beef up the rhythm sound with some background keyboards to help push the solos.

Some drawbacks include a couple jams that are a little on the cute side with child-like melodies and/or 80s styled pop-reggae rhythms, but it was the 80s and we were supposed to 'be happy don't worry'. Overall this is a great album with slammin Miles styled free jams that suffer only when compared to Miles' 70s free jam masterworks such as Agharta or Pangea.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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