Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
So Near So Far (Musing for Miles)
Genres: Jazz, Pop
One of the most effective tributes ever recorded, this session matches Joe Henderson's tenor with three brilliant former Miles Davis sidemen--guitarist John Scofield, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Al Foster. While thes... more »
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One of the most effective tributes ever recorded, this session matches Joe Henderson's tenor with three brilliant former Miles Davis sidemen--guitarist John Scofield, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Al Foster. While these musicians were associated with Davis during his later electronic years, the session's inspiration is clearly from the trumpeter's great acoustic career. It includes little-heard pieces like "Swing Spring," from 1954, and "Circle," from 1966, as well as masterworks such as "Miles Ahead", "Milestones," and "Flamenco Sketches" from the intervening classic period. Heard at his best here, Henderson is a stunning improviser, combining a relaxed, almost offhand flow with frequently surprising melodic and rhythmic turns, developing an intriguing multidirectionality in his solos. While Davis has been one of the most imitated of musicians, there's nothing derivative about this tribute, which garnered 1993 Grammy Awards as both Best Jazz Instrumental (individual or group) and Best Jazz Solo (instrumental) for Henderson's serene work on "Miles Ahead." The CD is unquestionably a group accomplishment, though, with intense yet restrained work from Scofield (his comping here sometimes suggests the master, Jim Hall) and bristling interplay in the rhythm section. --Stuart Broomer
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A fitting tribute
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 03/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Albums that purport to do honor to a musician are always a dicey proposition. The obvious question is, why do we want to hear the music redone? Why not just listen to the original? Joe Henderson's tribute to the artistry of Miles Davis, "So Near, So Far" answers the question by offering fresh takes on key tunes associated with Miles. Henderson's goal is not imitation; it's interpretation.Henderson has been one of my favorite musicians for a long, long time, but he still managed to surprise me with this album. Discarding the aggressive attack he displayed in the Blue Note years, he plays a lot here in the middle to upper register, and his tone in the upper regions is bell-like, his control flawless. As the best example, check out his work on "Flamenco Sketches," a key tune from Miles' "Kind of Blue" release. After John Scofield introduces the haunting melody on guitar, Henderson enters quietly, sketching the theme so delicately on his tenor that it sounds for a moment like a flute. Another highlight is "Pfrancing (No Blues)," Miles' tribute to a dancer. Henderson's tenor dances on this one, as he builds a perfectly arced solo, pushed along by Scofield. Al Foster on drums and Dave Holland on bass, both frequent collaborators with Miles, also make strong contributions throughout. This is a well-fused quartet, and all the members exhibit a genuine respect for the music without lapsing into a recycling of the tunes.Scofield remarked in the liner notes that he thinks about Miles every time he plays jazz. The beauty of this album is that it captures the spirit that Miles imparted, and a good part of that spirit is the admonition that every jazz musician must take what he learns to find his own voice."
Totally pleasant reworking of stuff Miles made his own...
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 04/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not familiar with Joe Henderson's other work, but I have long been interested in exactly what this disc delivers: Miles Davis sensibilities and talent but with the sax instead of the trumpet taking the lead. I found this offered at a bargain price which took away any risk, and after hearing just the first four songs, I realized it would also have been worth the standard price tag. Not only is Henderson great on tenor sax, but John Schofield's guitar work is more interesting here than on the two albums I used to own in which he was the leader. Al Foster's drumming and Dave Holland's bass playing are both wonderful. The songs picked, for the most part, are not the most frequently heard Davis tunes, and that was wise. This is very much a creation of the early 90's and of these four guys, using some Miles Davis charts as much as starting points as they are tributes. The booklet is informative. Most of the songs are gentle, but complex. It's a romantic album, but not just background sound. Even if you don't like Miles Davis (and I find a lot of his stuff I don't care for, along with many treasures) you will most likely love "So Near, So Far." The overall tone of this CD is quiet but never boring. Never assaulting the ears, it still can't qualify as "easy listening" or "smooth jazz". Highly recommended for the thoughtful fan of improvised instrumental music."
One of the great tribute albums
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 11/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In jazz we're living in the age of the tribute album right now. I've come to have mixed feelings about this phenomenon--when Steve Lacy did a Monk tribute album in the late 1950s, that was exciting & innovative, but now that scores of homages to Monk, Coltrane, Miles, Evans, Gershwin, Parker, &c have been recorded it's hard to get very excited about such endeavours. Joe Henderson's later years were spent on one tribute album after another, which was welcome for the emphasis it placed on him as an elder statesman of the music, one of the real _interpreters_ in jazz; yet it risked making his music too easily confirm the 1980s neoconservative position that jazz's historical development basically stopped in the 1960s. The one album from Henderson's later years that actually had him playing his own music was _Shade of Jade_, his big-band disc....of which the repertoire was mostly rearranged versions of his best-known 1960s compositions, which meant it was in some ways just as much a backwards-looking retrospective.Yet all of these misgivings fade away placed next to this album, which is one of the best of Henderson's career. In part that's because of its careful avoidance of the obvious. If one were to assemble a tribute to the pre-electric Miles (none of these compositions dates from later than 1968), it would hardly be obvious to pair Henderson (who was very briefly with Miles' band during 1967--in his liner notes Henderson says he played alongside Shorter for "four weekends") with three stalwarts of Miles's electric period--Dave Holland, John Scofield & Al Foster. The choice of compositions is also refreshingly unobvious; Miles is usually most closely identified with his interpretations of other composers' work ("My Funny Valentine", "Footprints", "Round Midnight", &c), & in any case the most popular Miles compositions are avoided here (only "Flamenco Sketches" from _Kind of Blue_; no "Tune Up", "Solar", "Four", "Nardis", "Milestones", &c.). (Henderson gently & ambivalently touches in the liner notes on the many accusations that have been levelled over the years at Miles concerning stealing the credits for some songs--"Four" for instance is apparently the work of Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, & Bill Evans should have received co-credits for _Kind of Blue_'s compositions.)All the foregoing is by way of saying that tribute albums inevitably carry a lot of historical & cultural baggage with them, & often this can weigh heavily on the music. The delight here is that the album entirely succeeds in both paying homage & yet sounding very much of its moment--1992. Holland & Foster are an astonishingly fleet rhythm section, & with Scofield playing with an unexpectedly lucid, open tone, this album is at once transparent in texture & warm in feeling. The use of guitar instead of piano is a brilliant stroke, as it immediately removes any resemblance between these versions & the original Miles versions, & yet Scofield's fragile chording on "Flamenco Sketches" is straight out of Bill Evans. (It's worth comparing his work here with another tribute album from about the same time, Paul Motian's _Bill Evans_, with Bill Frisell a strikingly effective replacement for the original piano.)Henderson's playing here is impeccable, but this is not a soloist-plus-rhythm-section date: it is four men collectively reconsidering Miles Davis's legacy, working in the closest mutual understanding. One of the essential albums of the 1990s."