Miles Davis: Ife




Miles Davis (trumpet)


Big Fun (Columbia Legacy C2K 63973)

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Miles Davis (trumpet),

Sonny Fortune (soprano sax, flute), Bennie Maupin (clarinet, flute), Carlos Garnett (soprano sax), Lonnie Liston Smith (piano), Harold I. Williams, Jr. (piano), Michael Henderson (bass), Al Foster, Billy Hart (drums), Badal Roy (tabla), James Mtume (African percussion)


Composed by Miles Davis


Recorded: New York, June 12, 1972


Rating: 73/100 (learn more)

Amidst few true variations, the 2-note pattern that typifies "Ife" is never relinquished. This On the Corner outtake sounds like a lazy leftover from Bitches Brew. Most of the latter's elements are here, ranging from cacophonic riffing to a dramatic, unshifting musical terrain. The multifarious cinematics are somewhat relaxed, and the use of wood blocks as percussion flirts with world music. Opaque soloing is both inaudible and unmemorable as it is buried underneath upfront synthesizer effects. The recording does find Miles at a crossroads; while his music here reflects complete freedom through simplicity, the results are less diverse and, to a great degree, uninteresting. If you are a jazz fan in need of a quick Miles fix, this will do, because of its length; in this largely uninspired moment, you will hear more of him and the others than necessary. It is uncertain what listeners will experience during these 21 minutes, because the action is as motionless as it is unrelenting. Near the end, what at first sounds like a breakdown from out of left field unfortunately becomes the same unchanging musical pattern used earlier but performed at less than half time, meaning Miles had temporarily run out of ideas.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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