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Tribute to Jack Johnson
Miles Davis
Tribute to Jack Johnson
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (2) - Disc #1

Miles Davis was a gifted composer of film soundtracks, and this is arguably his best. Certainly it's his most listenable film piece. A boxer himself, Davis had a feel for movement in the ring, and this recording overflows ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Miles Davis
Title: Tribute to Jack Johnson
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Release Date: 1/11/2005
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Styles: Jazz Fusion, Tributes, Funk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 827969359921

Synopsis essential recording
Miles Davis was a gifted composer of film soundtracks, and this is arguably his best. Certainly it's his most listenable film piece. A boxer himself, Davis had a feel for movement in the ring, and this recording overflows with the admiration he had for the grace, style, and confidence of fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson. Jack Johnson was, for a long time, Miles's favorite of his own recordings, and you can see why from the first note: guitarist John McLaughlin steps out and strides across a shuffling groove that is closer to barroom R&B than it is to rock; Davis weighs in with that clipped but plaintive sound which promises you that no matter what kind of music he takes on next, he will always be Miles. And then when--midway through the first of two long jams--Herbie Hancock muscles his way into the mix on organ, of all things, you realize that they could go on like this forever. A joyful, liberating record. --John Szwed

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One of my personal favorites
RockinRobin411 | 08/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Miles Davis might have lost several fans begging for him to live his life doing nothing but albums like Kind of Blue, but Miles Davis did what came from his heart, and this time, it was more of a rock/funk influenced style. I label this album not as much as a jazz-fusion album, not a jazz-rock album, not a rock-jazz album, none of that. I think of this album mainly as an instrumental funk album, or an R&B album. I would say that jazz-fusion is a good label however.

The music is much grittier and much more aggressive than anything from his early years on Kind of Blue. He has John McLaughlin on electric guitar, and Herbie Hancock on electric keyboards although some people have said that some of the keyboard playing was actually from Chick Corea. The album only has two tracks that both are primarily improvisation over vamping. However, the tracks have such nice grooves in them that I wouldn't want this album any other way.

It's hard to believe that this album was done by the same person who did Kind of Blue, but this album is a wonderful album."
An entertaining release of the early fusion era, with a new
Christopher Culver | 01/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If with the previous album Bitches Brew Miles Davis established gritty fusion as his new sound, 1970's JACK JOHNSON marked a refinement of this style. "Right Off", the first track of this collection of two ~25 minutes jams written for a film on the old-time boxer, immediately provides an electric basis. One hears John McLaughlin's furious guitar licks against a rhythm section of Michael Henderson on bass and Billy Cobham on drums, and only over two minutes in does Davis appear on trumpet. From there on, however, Davis does dominate the show. Initially he's just straightforwardly smoking, playing off against McLaughlin especially. Eventually, however, producer Ted Macero contributes some studio wizardry that makes Davis' horn more ambient. It's important to note that everything on this album is heavily edited, but such stitching is generally invisible and much less intrusive than BITCHES BREW. Finally, McLaughlin and Henderson solo again, and we finally hear a decent amount of electric organ from Herbie Hancock.

If "Right Off" ranges all over the place, the second track, "Yesternow", can risk monotony with the endlessly repeating bass line dominating its first part. The solos over it, however, are quality. Davis' initial appearance is of a lush and mellow kind more reminiscent of his mid-1960s bop than recent efforts. About halfway through, we hear a snippet of Davis' earlier album In a Silent Way which Macero inserted as a bridging segment. The second half of the track features a completely new ensemble, many from BITCHES BREW, with Sonny Sharrock providing a second guitar and Bennie Maupin playing bass clarinet. Here Davis' trumpet approaches a rhythm instrument, briefly giving a very wide space for the other instrumentalists. The last six minutes or so of the track are almost pure funk, with one guitar playing wah-wah and the other straight.

I've decided to give this album four stars because it does seem somewhat less substantial and varied than the releases preceding and following. However, this is a very entertaining effort, and may provide a path into Davis' fusion period for those who think BITCHES BREW is too noisy and convoluted (though IN A SILENT WAY works even better)."
Minor masterwork
IRate | 10/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Another slow cooked fusion dazzler which doesn't quite reach the dizzying heights of his best mesh, but a one-and-especially-two punch knockout of extended interplay still sits well as one of his finer minors."