18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
One of the most intense, awesome Miles albums.,
This review is from: E.S.P. (Audio CD)
Miles was at his best on this recording. He had been re-energized once again by Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, and it is displayed here. Miles solos with phenomenal upper register control and great ideas, and Wayne Shorter and Herbie also play great solo work. Ron and Tony are the fuel of this group and keep the energy flowing at all times. The album jumps right at you with the title track, a wonderful tune written by Wayne and Miles, where it continiously builds up in intensity, and it seems as if Wayne is simply building the intensity for Miles to take it into a whole different, more insane place, and then Herbie takes it from there and gradually cools it down again. Then there's the great radio feel of "Eighty-One", which is a very catchy little tune, and everyone in the band plays great. Herbie and Miles sound really hip on this one. "Little One" is a beautiful ballad written by Herbie, and is one of my personal favorites. Herbie also recorded this tune outside of Miles's group with Freddie Hubbard, Wayne, Ron and Tony, but I personally prefer the version with Miles (although they're both great). "RJ" is another faster hard bop tune, this one written by Ron Carter, and is a bit brief but makes a point as a transitional part of the album. "Agitation" is a composition by Tony Williams, and the title could not describe the piece better. The whole song gives a feeling of agitation. Tony Williams opens the song with a drum solo for two minutes, running through all sorts of complex rhythms. Miles comes in on harmon mute over this freeform rhythm and sounds great. This is one of the album's most interesting songs. "Iris" is a beautiful piece once again written by Shorter and Miles, taking it back to the slower mood. Miles sounds great jumping from lyrical stepping stones, and Wayne really gets into some good ideas here. The following final track is also a ballad, Ron Carter's "Mood". Here, Miles picks up the harmon mute again and solos in the upper register very well and appropriately uses his breathy, muted lower register. Wayne and Herbie also come up with wonderful improvisational work here.
This album is the epitome of great combo work. Everyone contributes, every member did some writing on this album, and everything sounds great. Recommended to anyone.