Miles Davis: Tutu
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Tutu (Warner Bros. 25490)
George Duke (keyboards), Jason Miles (synthesizer programming), Jabali Billy Hart (drums, bongos), Paulinho de Costa (percussion).
Composed by Marcus Miller.
Recorded: January 6-March 25, 1986
Rating: 85/100 (learn more)
Cut late in Miles Davis's career, "Tutu"'s shuffle lick is recognizable to most jazz fans, as it stands out amidst his '80s discography. Composed by Marcus Miller, this ode to the South African cleric is basically constructed around a 5-minute Miles solo, and in utilizing a single key, the form and sounds are easy on the ear. While Miller's production style incorporates drum machines, slap bass and über-reverb (all of which typify the sound of '80s Smooth Jazz), Miles sounds experienced yet youthful as he glides through the track unfazed by the synthesizer maze and effects designed to mimic air and wind. It is an updating of the Miles Davis sound for contemporary audiences; most of Miles's post-1967 compositions were built upon a single chord, and this cut is no exception. However, the fact that he is the lone soloist is the basis for the track's recommendation. While he breaks no new ground, this recording does prove that his playing chops remained unmitigated near the end of his life. While there are better tracks that showcase his twilight-era genius, such as "You're Under Arrest," "Tutu" is a very solid recording.
Reviewer: Marcus Singletary