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A Tribute to Jack Johnson


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Audio CD, February 25, 1992
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 25, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: 1992
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000027GU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,697 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Right Off - Miles Davis
2. Yesternow - Miles Davis

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Miles Davis was a gifted composer of film soundtracks, and this is arguably his best. Certainly it's his most listenable film piece. A boxer himself, Davis had a feel for movement in the ring, and this recording overflows with the admiration he had for the grace, style, and confidence of fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson. Jack Johnson was, for a long time, Miles's favorite of his own recordings, and you can see why from the first note: guitarist John McLaughlin steps out and strides across a shuffling groove that is closer to barroom R&B than it is to rock; Davis weighs in with that clipped but plaintive sound which promises you that no matter what kind of music he takes on next, he will always be Miles. And then when--midway through the first of two long jams--Herbie Hancock muscles his way into the mix on organ, of all things, you realize that they could go on like this forever. A joyful, liberating record. --John Szwed

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
This is one of the most amazing albums I have ever heard.
Sean M. Kelly
The best part of the track may be when McLaughlin and Henderson break into the funk riff near the end sounding much like Sly Stone.
John Alapick
A great tune, and the ending of this album might really surprise you and "won't let you forget it".
Mister Hip-Hop

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dave Stagner on October 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is the most *relaxed* of Miles' electric albums. It takes the vamp-based open structures of his great electric period (1968-75) and puts them in a warm blues context, rather than the heady big-band jazz experiments of Stockhausen-funk of later bands. The band is small, clean, and tight. The album opens with a pounding chord from John McLaughlin, dropping into an E blues shuffle that sounds more like Mississippi than NYC. McLaughlin, Cobham, and Henderson pave a groove like a red carpet for the Dark Magus, with only the occasional diminished passing chord to remind us that this is, indeed, a jazz album and not Muddy Waters. Then Miles comes in, not as the madman, just stretching his legs out on the deep bed of rhythm. Miles may play different at times, but he don't play any better than this. Then Herbie Hancock attacks with a horrible little Farfisa organ that sounds about to explode, and the game turns into a battle.
My god, this is good! The second track, Yesternow, is more expansive, more thoughtful. Sonny Sharrock's uncredited but unmistakable abuse of an Echoplex should be the stuff of legend, taking bluesy guitar to the exotic planes McLaughlin only hinted at.
This is the album to get for that blues-rock fan who just doesn't get the appeal of jazz. Miles doesn't expect us to suffer in order to understand, the way he often did with his best electric music. There's no harsh tones (well, maybe some!), no obscure harmonies, none of the stuff that makes jazz boring and hard for the uninitiated. And it will MOVE them.
I think the ultimate sound of this album is best summed up by a quote from the film, at the very end of the album... "I'm Jack Johnson. I'm black, and they never let me forget it. I'm Jack Johnson. I'm black, and I never let them forget it."
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sean M. Kelly on September 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the most amazing albums I have ever heard. Miles definitely was on a creative roll when he did this tribute lp. As a former boxer, as well as a prominent member of the black community, Miles could easily understand what fomer Boxing champ (and the 1st black boxing champ) Jack Johnson went through and what he meant to his community.
Like Johnson, Miles held back no punches on this powerful lp. Miles, John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, Steve Grossman, and Michael Henderson created a powerful rock and roll album that rivaled, and surpassed, many of the lps of its time- a straight ahead, no holds barred attack complete with blistering guitars, and powerful drumming and bass work by Cobham and Henderson. The stage was set, and Miles, Herbie, and Grossman wasted little opportunity to vamp and solo over the tight rock and roll grooves.
While not as earth shattering as Tony Williams' first Lifetime lp "Emergency!", "Jack Johnson" is nevertheless a powerful album of true fusion jazz. Miles' journey would lead him down the road to very dark Sly Stone-esque funky murky African based grooves (surely, his friend Jimi Hendrix's untimely death also signaled the death of Miles' rock and roll period) that lacked the crispness and overall urgency of this album, which, while rewarding in its own right, is also a shame, because Miles could rock.
An amazing feat and a very interesting sidebar in the Miles Davis canon, "Jack Johnson" is a true fusion lp that sounds as fresh today as it did then.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Kayser on January 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I just bought this album after a tip from my brother. He knows I have NEVER been into Jazz. For 40 years it has been R&R all the way for me. He made many attempts in the past to get me interested in Jazz. Finally he gave me the album for a present with a $50 bill. If I could honestly say I didn't like the album, I could keep the money; but, if I truly liked it, I had to give the money back. What a sucker, I knew I'd be $50 richer. Then I listened to Miles blow his brains out on his horn. Ripping off notes one on top of the other, hitting notes so high my dog got excited, blasting notes with machine gun rapidity and then breaking them off in mid-air, he blew my soxs off. I gladly gave the $50 back with a sincere Thank You to my brother for enriching my musical arena.
I may not be a Jazz fan yet, but I am a Miles Davis disciple. Remember this is a review from someone who first heard this album 32 years after it was recorded!!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mister Hip-Hop on October 5, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This album is a true masterpiece, Miles goes with more of a rock/funk/soul approach with this 1970 release. It still sounds fresh and is a great listen, Miles plays some amazing, clear notes throughout the whole album, and does an excellent contrast in styles when he switches to the mute and changes the whole tempo. Teo Macero really made up for the way he messed up the Quiet Nights album that Miles never wanted released with the ingenius splicing he did on this record. Great production. On "Right Off", John McLaughlin's guitar really rages through the beginning with Michael Henderson's funked out electric bass lines, and Miles playing an excellent solo for practically seven minutes. His tone is incredibly clear on this album, more-so than any other record I've heard from him or anyone else for that matter. Herbie Hancock's added organ riffs aren't bad either and but McLaughlin and Miles own this track for pretty much the whole twenty-five minutes that it lasts. "Yesternow" starts off with Miles taking a laid-back solo over a repeated bassline by Michael Henderson. This bassline is actually the exact same riff James Brown used for "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)". Miles solos over it with great style, and then the track just goes beyond Earth with the spacy guitars throughout (partly courtesy of an uncredited appearance by guitarist Sonny Sharrock). A great tune, and the ending of this album might really surprise you and "won't let you forget it". This album was a superb tribute to one of the first black boxing greats, Jack Johnson. If you are interested in Miles, you should already have this. If you don't, I advise you pick it up, because it has some of the best trumpet playing Miles did in the 1970's, even jazz purists might enjoy this one, unlike a lot of Miles's later albums (which I happen to think are still real good). Check this one out.
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