100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn't end well- with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn't far behind. FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD is an inspiring film that chronicles Joe's personal mission to regain his health. With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long-term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body's ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle. While talking to more than 500 Americans about food, health and longevity, it's at a truck stop in Arizona where Joe meets a truck driver who suffers.
Amandla doesn't sound like any of the contemporary jazz records of its time, as Miles Davis returns one last time to a leadership role he'd basically abdicated to Fender bassist/multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller on the preceding Tutu and Siesta. By plugging in with the cream of his live collaborators on Amandla, Miles retained the big band sound of Tutu, but with a more humanized sense of interplay and swing. "Catembe" heralds the third world rhythmic locus which snakes its way through the entire album, while "Jo-Jo" and "Jilli" engender an ongoing call-and-response between front line and back line, between main and secondary themes, as Kenny Garrett's fat, burnished alto lines coil and strike around Davis's more circumspect, muted phrases.
Overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe was at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. With doctors and conventional medicine unable to help, Joe traded in junk food and hit the road with a juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe had one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle.
For Miles Davis, the six year layoff between the release of PANGAEA and THE MAN WITH THE HORN was marked by isolation, physical pain and dependency…a sense of inertia. At points on THE MAN WITH THE HORN you can hear him straining to get his chops back up, although ultimately, his musicianly instincts served him well during odd passages of rope-a-doping, and for every broken note there is a blast of vintage Miles.
THE MAN WITH THE HORN introduces yet another striking band, featuring future leaders such as reedman Bill Evans, guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Marcus Miller and drum innovator Al Foster. The opening "Fat Time" combines Miles' love for the flamenco airs and melodic gravity of Spain with a contemporary hard funk style. Evans and Stern act as virtuoso foils, a la Coltrane and Hendrix, the latter's influence apparent in Barry Finnerty's boiling clouds of distortion on "Back Seat Betty" (which settles into a coy, laid back blues vehicle for Miles' muted horn), and a rivetting "Aida," in which Miles reprises the rhythmic tumult of his mid-'70s band with dramatic give and take between his horn and a fiery guitar-driven vamp, as Al Foster thunders away underneath.
Issued in Japan in 1992, a year after Miles' death, this is the complete Tokyo concert from which "Jean-Pierre" was selected for Columbia's We Want Miles album. Ultimately, it adds corroborative detail to the most publicized comeback in jazz history without revealing any startling new facets. The repertoire is a bit different than on the Columbia release; the selections run together in two continuous medleys. "Back Seat Betty," a two-minute "Ursula," "My Man's Gone Now" and "Aida" ("Fast Track") form the first set, and "Fat Time" and "Jean-Pierre" are heard in the second.
Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album. To be reductive, it's the Citizen Kane of jazz – an accepted work of greatness that's innovative and entertaining…