Yo Miles! — Upriver — Cuneiform Records Rune 201/202

by | Aug 29, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Yo Miles! — Upriver — Cuneiform Records Rune 201/202 (2 discs)  Stereo-only SACD ***1/2: 

Yo Miles! is a group led by Wadada Leo Smith and Henry Kaiser.  A
previous record, Sky Garden, was reviewed in this magazine and received
a four star rating.  The group was founded in San Francisco in
1998 and focuses on reinterpreting Miles Davis electronic jazz of the
early 1970s.  Kaiser is an avant rock guitarist and knew he hit
gold when he recruited avant jazz trumpeter Smith.  Upriver is Yo
Miles!’ third recording and includes Mike Keneally and Chris Muir on
electric guitars, Michael Manring on bass, Steve Smith on drums, Karl
Perazzo and Tom Coster on percussion, Greg Osby on alto saxophone, John
Tchicai on tenor and soprano saxophones, as well as several guest
artists.  These recordings were made live to 2-track both on a
stereo DSD recorder and in conjunction on a Studer ½” analog
machine.  Kaiser claims that those who listened to both preferred
the DSD tracks.  Due to the live-to-2-track style of recording,
the listener is treated to an improvisation-fueled performance that has
more life and breath to it than conventional studio recordings. 

The two discs include two and half hours of music with three
compositions over 20 minutes in length and five that are over 10
minutes in length.  Two of the tracks are original, while the rest
are based on themes within the original Davis tunes that the group use
to expand upon and create an explosive tapestry of sound.  For
those unfamiliar with the material, it would be a good idea to check
out a few of the classic Davis CDs.  The record does stand on its
own, but the listener will have more appreciation for the music after
experiencing the original material.  Although heartily influenced
by jazz, the music has funk and rock elements mixed with electronic
instruments that might be best described as avant garde fusion. 
For those not fearful of taking a step over to the wild side of jazz,
you can expect a high-powered “live” sounding set.  Songs included
are:  Go Ahead John; On The Corner Jam; What I Say; Bitches Brew;
Tatu/Agharta Funk; Tune in 5/One Phone Call; Corrado; Macero;
Yesterfunk; Thunder & Lightning; Jabali (part III); Black Satin
(slight return).

-Brian Bloom

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