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Miles Had Something To Prove,
This review is from: Tutu (Audio CD)
This first release for Warner Bros. was supposed to be a collaboration with Prince. Instead, it was a reuniting with Marcus Miller for this outstanding tribute to Archbishop Desmund Tutu which captured a 1987 Grammy Award.
Miles had previously taken part in Artists United Against Apartheid and this CD finds him putting his complete artistic signature in the criticism of the institutionalized white racism in South Africa.
The majority of the compositions, arrangements, production and instruments were provided by Miller. George Duke wrote, arranged, co-produced and played on Backyard Ritual. Programmed synthesizers - from Jason Miles - samples and drum loops are the studio tools that dominate the mix.
The last track, Full Nelson, is a Miller composition named for Nelson Mandela. The title track sets the stage for arguably the strongest work by Miles in the 1980s. There is not a weak cut as the studio is used to its full potential to merge technology with the trumpet; which hadn't been done since the 1970s funk classic, On The Corner.
Miles had left Columbia Records for a variety of artistic issues and one major personal situation. The breaking point was when a company executive contacted Miles and asked him to call Columbia artist Wynton Marsalis and wish him a happy birthday. Miles and Marsalis had a contentious relationship due to harsh comments Marsalis had previously directed at Miles.
Unlike many of his critics within the industry, Miles refused to fall back on an antiquated style and simply crank out generic music. Tutu and the subsequent concerts demonstrated that Miles continued to look ahead and refused to wait for others to catch up.