None of Miles Davis' recordings has been more shrouded in mystery than Jack Johnson, yet none has better fulfilled Miles Davis' promise that he could form the "greatest rock band you ever heard." Containing only two tracks, the album was assembled out of no less than four recording sessions between February 18, 1970, and June 4, 1970, and was patched together by producer Teo Macero. Most of the outtake material ended up on Directions, Big Fun, and elsewhere. The first misconception is the lineup: the credits on the recording are incomplete.
A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON was originally conceived as the soundtrack for a documentary on the life of the first African American heavyweight boxing champion, but the album stands on its own as one of the most brilliant, compelling fusion recordings ever made. This is due in large part to the increasing influence of rock and funk on Miles's aesthetic, to the superb musicians (including Davis himself– who turns in some stunningly vigorous solos), and in part to the production skills of Teo Macero, who collaged the album together from numerous jam sessions into two lengthy, majestic tracks.
None of Miles Davis' recordings has been more shrouded in mystery than Jack Johnson, yet none has better fulfilled Miles Davis' promise that he could form the "greatest rock band you ever heard." Containing only two tracks, the album was assembled out of no less than four recording sessions between February 18, 1970, and June 4, 1970, and was patched together by producer Teo Macero. Most of the outtake material ended up on Directions, Big Fun, and elsewhere. The first misconception is the lineup: the credits on the recording are incomplete. For the opener, "Right Off," the band is Miles, John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, Michael Henderson, and Steve Grossman (no piano player!), which reflects the liner notes.
Throughout a professional career lasting 50 years, Miles Davis played the trumpet in a lyrical, introspective, and melodic style, often employing a stemless Harmon mute to make his sound more personal and intimate. But if his approach to his instrument was constant, his approach to jazz was dazzlingly protean. To examine his career is to examine the history of jazz from the mid-'40s to the early '90s, since he was in the thick of almost every important innovation and stylistic development in the music during that period, and he often led the way in those changes, both with his own performances and recordings and by choosing sidemen and collaborators who forged new directions. It can even be argued that jazz stopped evolving when Davis wasn't there to push it forward…
Of the myriad double-live sets Miles Davis recorded in the early '70s, In Concert: Live at Philharmonic Hall is the only one documenting his On the Corner street-funk period, which is immediately obvious from the cover art. Actually, in terms of repertoire, the material from Get Up With It, Big Fun, and A Tribute to Jack Johnson each takes up a greater percentage of space, but the hard-driving rhythms and plentiful effects make it clear which of Davis' fusion aesthetics applied.
While there is a plethora of Miles Davis tribute albums out there, this one is interesting for the basic fact that this horn quartet attempts to evoke his spirit without the use of a trumpet. To add spice, they employ African drums, with kalimba and voice. Selim Sivad: The Music of Miles Davis is the fifteenth album by the jazz group the World Saxophone Quartet and their third on the Canadian Justin Time label. The album features performances by Hamiet Bluiett, John Purcell, Oliver Lake and David Murray, with guests Jack DeJohnette, Chief Bey, Okyerema Asante, and Titos Sompa and is dedicated to Miles Davis.
When Miles Davis released Live-Evil in 1970, fans were immediately either taken aback or keenly attracted to its raw abstraction. It was intense and meandering at the same time; it was angular, edgy, and full of sharp teeth and open spaces that were never resolved. Listening to the last two CDs of The Cellar Door Sessions 1970, Sony's massive six-disc box set that documents six of the ten dates Davis and his band recorded during their four-day engagement at the fabled club, is a revelation now. The reason: it explains much of Live-Evil's live material with John McLaughlin.