MILES DAVIS / “It’s About That Time (Remix)”
Grave robbing? No. This is some holy resurrection shit.
There’s enough Miles music buried in the mountains of Columbia Records (NYC) to put out a new Miles CD every year for the next umpteen years. Certainly when I’m dead, Miles will still be coming out with something new. E.g., a big On The Corner box set is about to drop.
But technically, Evolution Of The Groove is not new Miles. It just sounds new. Real new. Like a Davis duppy sauntered into the studio and said, “Keep it on the one. I’ma show you how to blow this shit!” And did. Seen?
Well, maybe not, cause (again technically) this remix project doesn’t drop til August 21, 2007. I ain’t calling no names but somebody over at Black Rock dropped an advanced copy on me. They should of knowed I had some Mouse in me (y’all, remember Cheadle from Devil In The Blue Dress—“you shouldn’t of left him with me if you ain’t wanted him kilt; you know how I am,” well like that, they shouldn’t of sent it to me if they didn't want me to share it with other folks). And, by the way, Don Cheadle is going to be playing Miles in a forthcoming bio-pix; and you know Cheadle can play that shit!
So here we go. First off, this thing is five short tracks long. Short. The longest being 4:53. And since it’s so short, the whole thing is in the juke box.
Now there’s already a bunch of repackaging and remixing and covering and what not of Miles’ music. In terms of remixes, this is by far the best of the lot. Surprisingly the best.
Miles’ nephew (and one of the executors of Miles' musical estate) Vince Wilburn, Jr. got his fingerprints all over this thing. Plus they brought in a slew of musicians to cook up this 21st century Davis gumbo. And where other attempts, particularly that dreadful (and I don’t mean that in no good way) Panthalassa escapee failed to pass the taste test, this shit is tasty.
But beyond being the best of the lot, it’s actually good music, which you have ears and can hear for yourself. It’s one rapper: Nas. One trumpeter (other than Miles): Olu Dara, Nas’ father. Plus there are beaucoup guests like Santana, pianist Geri Allen, various African drummers, guitarist Pat Thrall and bass work/beat-making by Charley Drayton, and I could go on, but it’s not really a jazz record. The sidemen don’t stand out. They don’t take major solos. But they do matter.
Why? Because these guys get the groove right. Tight. Plus, the production (the engineering/editing/mixing) is tight, tight, tight. Damn near seamless. So seamless, you can’t tell that it’s cobbled together across decades. Except, when they bop, they bop, hard. Head bop and beat drop. Kudos to the musicians.
And if you don’t believe it’s hip, compare the original of “It’s About That Time” to the remix. The original is 20-minutes long and is awesome as mood adjustment music. But the remix. Man, it sounds like the kind of contemporary funk Miles always wanted to make. On top of that, even with the compression and sonic alterations, Miles’ horn still shines almighty.
Plus, on the reel side, you know it’s really not all that surprising seeing as how Miles was the first jazz cat to use remixing extensively. He would go in the studio and blow for hours. Days. Walk away and leave Teo Marceo to cut and splice. And out would come those crazy-ass electric Miles albums.
I never liked most of them. Never. But I like this. Why? Well, because it’s not jazz musicians trying to play rock. Nor rock musicians trying to play jazz. And rather than Miles’ trumpet lost in the mélange of electrified sounds, his horn floats cool and clear atop the percolating rhythms.
The biggest problem with this project is that it’s too, too short. Much too short. Let these folk loose. Give them the catalogue and have them come back next year with Evolution 2 – Another Level. Let them play that shit!
—Kalamu ya Salaam
I just wish it was longer
I'm really digging this. A lot. But I have the same question Kalamu has. Where's the rest of it? Is this going to be released as an EP or something? It's certainly not long enough to be an album.
... OK, I just got back from Amazon.com. It is an EP. That's too bad. I liked every track I heard. I usually don't get into these remix type projects of jazz records because far too often, it's as if a modern-day seamstress tried to take in or let out a beautiful dress and ruined it in the process. You'll see seams showing and the thing falls apart if you wear it too much and so on. But these tracks, like Kalamu said, are done so seamlessly, it's hard to tell what parts are new and what parts are old. I like them all, but both "Honky Tonk" and "Black Satin" are fantastic. I'll be scoring this EP as soon as it drops. I just wish it was longer. A lot longer.
—Mtume ya Salaam
This entry was posted on Sunday, August 19th, 2007 at 3:01 am and is filed under Cover. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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