Miles Davis: Yesternow




Miles Davis (trumpet)


A Tribute to Jack Johnson (Columbia S 30455)

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Miles Davis (trumpet), John McLaughlin (electric guitar),

plus in Group 1: Steve Grossman (soprano sax), Herbie Hancock (organ), Michael Henderson (electric bass), Billy Cobham (drums); and in Group 2: Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Sonny Sharrock (electric guitar), Chick Corea (electric piano), Dave Holland (electric bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums)


Composed by Miles Davis


Recorded: New York, February 1970


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Producer Teo Macero really chopped up this piece in the editing room. Consequently, cohesion suffers, and many people didn't care for that. Today, however, in this jam-band, home-studio and sampling recording world, Teo seems like a genius. At times, "Yesternow" is haltingly slow and disjointed; at other times, it builds pace with such thick electricity—an overwhelming feeling of voltage—that the tune seems plugged directly into a wall outlet. Miles himself plays sparingly, more intent on being charged-up as he lets guitarist McLaughlin and bassist Henderson provide the power supply. To create the final version, Macero tacked-on a couple of other session pastiches involving, except for Miles and McLaughlin, completely different personnel (listed in our Musician credits above as Group 2). This music too has its moments, but the original lineup is the dominant force in the tune. As the piece comes to a close, the great actor and voice, Brock Peters, declares his identity as Jack Johnson and informs us, in so many words, that he is not going to take any shit from anybody. Dig it!

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 Les Nelson // Apr 26, 2009 at 03:26 PM
    One of the greatest recordings in jazz and one of Miles' best. McLaughlin's playing on Yesternow (and on Right Off, on the other side of the original LP) is awesome! What a groove! It sounds as fresh to today as it was all those years ago. Macero was a great A & R man and he definitely got the best out of Miles. The recordings in the later years never came close to matching this album.
  • 2 Q // May 05, 2009 at 06:21 PM
    This song has to be listen to with your eyes closed. you can see yourself walking the streets of any downtown only to find yourself looking back in time. it seems so real now as it did yesterday which brings up to today. things have a way of repeating it seems like are worst times and our best times will replay itself, but once we have truely learned from what we did before can we progress to become something better. the past holds the key to the future. this is what this songs means to me. close your eyes and maybe you will see it to.