Search - Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith :: Yo Miles!

Yo Miles!
Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith
Yo Miles!
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #2

On Yo Miles!, guitarist Henry Kaiser and trumpeter Leo Smith revisit the glory days of Miles Davis's mid-'70s electric jazz-fusion experiments. Accompanied by the likes of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, keyboardist John Me...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith
Title: Yo Miles!
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Shanachie
Original Release Date: 8/18/1998
Release Date: 8/18/1998
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Experimental Music, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 016351504623, 669910130766

On Yo Miles!, guitarist Henry Kaiser and trumpeter Leo Smith revisit the glory days of Miles Davis's mid-'70s electric jazz-fusion experiments. Accompanied by the likes of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, keyboardist John Medeski, and guitarist Elliot Sharp, Kaiser and Smith faithfully revive extended Davis compositions like "Black Satin" and "Theme from Jack Johnson". With a background of pulsing electric bass, percussion, a bustling reed section, and floating organ fills, Leo Smith does an admirable job emulating Miles Davis's distinctive trumpet sound. Kaiser's guitar consistently pushes the ensemble into a realm of heady improvisation, blending hard rock and deep funk influences into ambitious jazz structures. This lengthy double-disc is a fine introduction into the mystical methodology of Miles Davis and his most misunderstood musical era. --Mitch Myers

CD Reviews

A noble experiment
a superintelligent shade of the col | minneapolis | 08/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Henry Kaiser has always been interested in the broader structures of improvisation. So when he and Wadada Leo Smith set out to produce a tribute to the great electric period of Miles Davis, they were trying to work his structures, not necessarily his sounds. And in that, they succeeded. During the era from Bitch's Brew up through the mid-1970s, Miles' music consisted basically of bass vamps and simple melodies against one and two chord harmonic structures. The basslines, melodies, and chord vamps could all be mixed and matched in different combinations as beds for extended improvisation. To this day, it remains one of the most insightful and exciting structures for improvisation yet developed, and shame on the jazz critics who shrug off this period as drug-addled noise, rather than the peak of Miles' career!

Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith, and various others set out to create new music within the framework Miles built, and in that they succeed. Long, creative improvisations over funky rhythmic beds characterize this work, and the soloists speak in their own voices. That's the good part.

The bad part, and why i'm only giving four stars, is that listening to this album just reminds us how incredibly brilliant Miles' work was. Yeah, this album is great, but it doesn't hold a candle to, say, Phaedra and Agharta, or Big Fun. They're standing in the long shadow Miles Davis cast.

Still, it's a lot of fun if you like this kind of music, and well worth the investment. But if you're not sure, then pick up some proper 1967-1975 electric Miles instead and prepare to be either amazed or boggled.

Thirty years ago, the music of Miles Davis sounded like it was from decades into the future. Today, the thirty year old music of Miles Davis STILL sounds futuristic! But hats off to this crew for trying to look into the future by looking into the past, and taking on a truly brave project that has to be measured against the finest work of one of the giants of music.

Oh, and as an added plus, this album has marvelous, insightful liner notes that will help you understand the music more. It's worth it for that alone."
If you questioned Miles in the 70s, check this out!
John Kelman | Ottawa, Ontario Canada | 09/08/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)

"At the time of Miles' 70s albums like Big Fun, Get Up With It, Live Evil, etc., while still pretty young (and therefore not tied into tradition), I found the music too chaotic (I was more into the ECM style, and 60s Miles). Having recently bought all the 70s reissues from CBS/Legacy, I found myself discovering things I would never have imagined there in the first place, it was with great interest that I saw an ad for Yo Miles!. I have always been a fan of Henry Kaiser (especially hist work with Richard Thompson), and thought that if anyone could do justice to this material, he could. I have not been disappointed.Yo Miles! is certainly a cleaner recording than the true 70s Miles material, partially because recording techniques are better, and partially because, while they are trying to reinterpret the material, they add a 90s sensibility, which I am sure Miles would have loved. The huge cast of players are excellent, and some of the medleys (especially Themes from Jack Johnson) are exceptionally well put together. Much like Miles, the grooves change, the tempos shift, and you can almost see Miles looking down giving his directions to the band.As another reviewer said, a great introduction to the period where everyone thought Miles had lost it. The reality is he hadn't lost it.....we had."
Reminds us how great this music was!
Peter Savage | Near Portland, ME USA | 09/02/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Miles purists often curl their lips at the churning, chaotic funk of his early seventies music, but Smith and Kaiser's CD (amazing value for money, a double for $20 or so) is a sharp reminder of how this primal roar captured the spirit of an era and paved the way for so much modern music. Highspots are the demented sax ensembles and solos, Kaiser's dead-on wah-and-graunch guitar stylings, and Smith's eerie grasp of what Miles was trying to do, but sometimes undershot. From the get-go, it doesn't sound like an imitation, but more of a tribute. Minor quibbles: Kaiser should have tossed the cheesy guitar-rack sitar effects and used a real sitar. And Smith plays just a bit too clean. But anyone who loved Miles will flip over this CD. And those who didn't, or were too young to get it: Hold on to your hats. This is the real classical music of the late 20th century."