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Miles In The Sky

55 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 6, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

An electrifying experience as Davis moves away from his traditional quintet sound toward a more jazz/rock feel later to be known as fusion. Illuminated by Herbie Hancock's Fender Rhodes, along with a guest appearance by George Benson on Paraphernalia.

1. Stuff
2. Paraphernalia
3. Black Comedy
4. Country Son
5. Black Comedy [Alternate Take][*]
6. Country Son [Alternate Take][*]

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 6, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • ASIN: B0012GMWEI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,796 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Smith on February 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Shortly before embarking on the voyages of change that were "In a Silent Way" and of course "Bitches Brew," Miles and his quintet recorded this underrated record. It's unlikely that you'll find it on many listeners' "Best of" lists of Miles' recordings; however, it's a minor gem that is buried in his huge discography.
It's true that on "Miles in the Sky" the group sticks more than a collective toe into the rock waters. But jazz listeners shouldn't be frightened off by that. This is still a rock-solid jazz record. Tony Williams is especially effective at bridging the gap between rock and jazz drumming. As the best example, check out his and Miles' incredible rapport on "Country Son." Tony's fascinating work on this song and throughout the record reminds us of what a great musician we lost when he passed.
George Benson's contribution on "Paraphernalia" is superior as well. He too manages to imply a rock feel in his playing without ever abandoning the fluidity and freedom of jazz.
For those listeners more comfortable with Miles' fusion material, this might be the album that treads close enough to rock to satisfy you, but it might also be the album that whets your appetite for earlier Columbia dates that this quintet recorded. Once you get a taste of those, you might find it hard to be fully satisfied with the later material.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hardin on March 5, 2006
Format: Audio CD
When it comes to Miles's "Second Great Quintet," much is made of "Miles Smiles" and "Nefertiti" as classic albums, but I had heard next to nothing about this one. However, when I bought "E.S.P." and it blew my mind, I picked this one up along with all the other albums by this group: Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. This album may not receive as much attention as others of the period, but it deserves just as much praise as the undisputed classics. I think there are certain things this album does BETTER than "Miles Smiles" and "Nefertiti;" when the rhythm section is playing straight time, they have never sounded more in the pocket or swung harder than here. Then within the confines of a few seconds they can break out of their perfect groove and just explode, and again, it's more effective here than any of the other albums. Central to this aspect of the music is that Tony Williams gives what was probably the best performance of his tenure with Miles. The man was a MONSTER drummer and displays major drum chops but also excellent taste and an amazing knack for shaping what the rest of the band was doing.

Part of the reason Williams's contributions are their very best is that the material plays to his personal strengths. The tunes themselves may not be the best compositions in this band's discography but they are vehicles for some killer playing. "Stuff" is the band's first obvious foray into what would become fusion; Hancock plays Fender Rhodes and Carter plays electric bass (against his will), and Williams pushes the band with his still unmatched jazz-rock feel. Then "Paraphernalia" features George Benson on guitar, but not in some kind of special guest feature gimmick common in the music industry today.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Groove on October 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
It's rare that I do this, but I bought "Miles in the Sky" mainly for its album cover. It looks trippy and strange, but it also looks intriguing and would probably satisty the curiosity of those open-minded enough to give it a try. Well, I gave "Miles in the Sky" a try on my CD player, and it richly fulfills the promise of its cover. From the first track, the soulful and alluring 17-minute "Stuff" (appropriately titled, by the way), "Miles in the Sky" took me into another world that shows Davis has evolved from the days of "Kind of Blue" and "Round About Midnight." He's also taken a more experimental approach to jazz, which is evident in the musicianship from track to track. The upbeat "Paraphernalia" is classy and srtaight up brilliant, with Davis in stellar form on trumpet and featuring a welcome guest appearance from George Benson on guitar. "Country Son," written by Miles himself, is 13 minutes of pure bliss that playfully shifts tempos throughout and features some impressive piano from Herbie Hancock and popping bass from Ron Carter. There's really no structure to this track, which just randomly moves along and goes with the flow. Yet, it's "Country Son"'s very spontaneity that makes it so successful. Bold and experimental, "Miles in the Sky" shows Davis pushing the envelope even further as a musician. It's a marvelous achievement that never tires.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Holmes on September 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
for people who have a spark of curiosity about the legendary music of Miles Davis, knowing where to begin the search can be a frustrating issue. with a back catalogue as vast as a small continent, figuring out where to start and where to go can be tricky. especially considering the many phases of Miles' long and adventerous career. he spawned many folowers and imitators and made many enemies along the way. a larger than life figure who would dominate the jazz scene for decades and whose music still holds power and brilliance even to this day. Personally, i have been such a big John Coltrane fan for so many years, that i somehow blindly overlooked Miles Davis' recorded output for a long time. it's just been in the past 4 years or so that i have gotten the opportunity to dig into Miles' absolutely stunning and quite frankly, overwhelming music. whereas Coltrane was the master of melody, Miles is the master of the mood. a true genius whose musical impact and influence is felt even stronger today than it was when he was alive.

Miles In The Sky is a mindblowing affair. the cover alone is not your average everyday jazz art (even for back in the late 60's). but the cover art was only a hint at what was to be a daring direction for Miles Davis and his band. the opener "Stuff" is a minimal transparent (and almost funky) jazz workout that takes it's time and states it's purpose in slow shady tones. the mysterious wonders continue with hidden little gems exposing themsleves to the listener with frightful ease and assurance. this is the sound of a band pushing the envelope...but gently, and on their own terms. many people seem to look at Miles In The Sky as a sort of stepping stone for what would later be coined 'fusion'.
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