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Miles Davis
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1


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All Artists: Miles Davis
Title: Decoy
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
Release Date: 4/1/2008
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Jazz Fusion
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 886972486628

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CD Reviews

The best of Miles Davis' '80s Columbia output.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 12/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Miles Davis' '80s catalog is almost universally spoken poorly of in critical circles, and for many, "Decoy" represents exactly why. Here's Miles Davis, admittedly of diminished capacities, doing an album of melody-based fusion. Compared negatively to his '70s work, these albums have been largely overlooked. And while Davis is somewhat diminished as a performer, as a musician, he's largely intact. And while "Decoy" is almost universally disliked, it's actually my favorite of Miles' 1980s Columbia output.

At the center of the hatred of this record seems to be "Freaky Deaky", so I'll tackle it first-- Davis performs on synth, backed by bassist Darryl Jones, drummer Al Foster and percussionist Mino Cinelu. Davis provides implied melody and an ambient, Eno-like feel, the rhythm section provides the implication of a pulse and energy without ever reaching it. The performance is delicate, unassuming, and out of your face. And in my assessment, the finest track on the album-- an experiment to be sure, but how was In a Silent Way not?

The rest of the album is the expected fusion stuff we've been seeing-- Davis blows horn alongside either Bill Evans or Branford Marsalis on sax, guitarist John Scofield, keyboardist Robert Irving III and the rhythm section of Jones, Foster and Cinelu. It's got a great funky sound, anchored by Jones (one of the few bassists capable of following Marcus Miller), ranging in moods from playful ("Robot 415") to frantic and exciting ("What It Is", featuring great performances from Jones-- in particular, Davis and Scofield). And while it's got its share of "ok" material (the somewhat plodding "That's Right", saved from itself by inspired soloing), it lacks anything horrible on it that weighed down Davis' earlier '80s albums.

Is "Decoy" for everyone? Absolutely not. Are most people going to think "Freaky Deaky" is fantastic? Probably not. But it's a sign Davis was still searching, and while he'd do better albums later (Tutu comes immediately to mind), "Decoy" is worth investigation."
DECOY changed my life, as a person and as a musician
fedtho | Geneva, Switzerland | 02/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm thankful for Michael Stack's review.

I'm completely stunned to learn that "Decoy" has been so poorly apreciated when it came out.
In my life as a musician, there is a 'before' and an 'after' "Decoy", it blew me off my chair, it rocked my world. And I was surrounded by people who felt like me me at the time.

And Miles was alive, and I saw him four times in concert, and I wasn't interested in him not having the sound of Maurice André... or his own sound 20 years earlier, for that matter. He was OOZING musical pioneership, he was telepathically connected with his musicians, he was leading them to explore planets outside the solar system.

I feel sorry for (but do not despise - just their loss) those who were and/or are not aware of what was happening when Miles made music with any given, carefully hand-picked band of his.

DECOY is a milestone, no pun. It's a bomb."
Perhaps my favorite Miles album
luv my 20D! | SF Valley, CA | 10/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I remember buying this when it came out. I remember reading one review that called it "his best recorded work." I remember another that called it "execrable." Some of my friends loved it. Some hated it.

I can see where the critics are coming from. The keyboard punches of Robert Irving III, while harmonically indispensable, sometimes sounded like afterthoughts added to liven things up. Scofield's auto wah on the first track has a retro vibe that one might consider faddish. I can't say I'm excited about the solos that Scofield and Marsalis turned in. And "That's What Happened" almost sounds like a backing track from some '80s haircut band.

All that said, from a compositional standpoint, Decoy is amazing. The long melodic lines Miles experimented with on In a Silent Way reach their full potential here. The polychordal harmony floating over Darryl Jones's unbelievably in-the-pocket, driving groove reaches a depth Miles only rarely achieved in the McLaughlin-Jarrett-Corea-etc. era. "What It Is," taken from a Scofield solo, is IMHO the nastiest, most angular tune Miles ever recorded.

On no other recording can you hear Miles experiment with his own playing the way he does here - adding muted trumpet accents behind his solo on "Code M.D." and overdubbing call-and-response solos on "What It Is" - and, of course, playing those haunting keyboard lines on "Freaky Deaky." Throughout Decoy, Miles sounds fantastic - as robust and inspired as in any other period in his career, maybe more so. To me, this is the point where he really got his lip back after his long break. Sadly, this was probably his peak; later '80s efforts never approached the intensity he achieves on Decoy.

So whether you like it or don't, you're missing an important piece of the Miles Davis legacy if you haven't heard Decoy."