Miles to Miles
(Narada – 2005)
by D.J. Fazio
One of the original hipsters, Jason Miles is a highly-acclaimed arranger, composer, keyboardist, synthesizer programmer and producer extraordinaire. With the ears and the knack for laying out songs that reshape musical boundaries, he has and continues to be inspired by his work with jazz legend Miles Davis. Perhaps an influence of his gig on the 1986 album Tutu, his latest project, not a tribute per se, is rather a modern-day genre-fusing. This is a style that Davis himself would most likely dig. So it is with great humility and a deep respect that he presents his latest offering, Miles to Miles (In the Spirit of Miles Davis) with a who’s who of today’s artists including: Gerald Albright, DJ Logic and Michael Brecker (to name a few) who, no doubt have also been inspired by Davis as well.
He unleashes several groove-inspired tunes on this recording. Whether it’s the trippy opening track Ferrari with its funky trumpet & sax lines weaving along side a driving percussion or the sassy sax and ultra-hip keyboard performances on the decadent Butter Pecan, one thing’s for sure, you’ll want more! King of the Bling boasts some very impressive trumpet/sax stylings and shows some edge with electrified guitar work and scratching. Not to be out done, Street Vibe kicks it up and I love the use of organ, as well as counterpoint on this one. Very cool song!
Miles brings world music into focus as the song Bikini teases with playful percussion/keyboard elements, and the sexy Love Code continues with beguiling vocals and trumpet stylings. But the mood culminates with one of my favorite tracks on the disc, Davis’ Flamenco Sketches. Painting a romantic interlude, the acoustic guitar and piano work by Marc Antoine and Keiko Matsui respectively, are the perfect accompaniment to Barry Danielian’s trumpet interpretation.
Another highlight is the song Guerilla Jazz which shows off modal jazz stylings reminiscent of John Coltrane and Davis, and features one of the last recordings of the late saxophonist Bob Berg.
With so many jazz-lovers craving innovative songs, this recording is perfectly timed. In the true spirit of jazz and In the Spirit of Miles Davis, Jason Miles gives us a CD that’ll make you listen to music differently. It’s modern, exciting, risky and completely satisfying. Straight up, Miles to Miles is a record that’ll go the distance. This one’s a keeper!