Miles from India SET
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Miles From India
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Vinyl, Box set, Limited Edition, November 25, 2008
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In a startlingly original recreation of music associated
with jazz legend Miles Davis, producer-archivist Bob
Belden, renowned for his Grammy Award-winning
reissue work on a series of Miles Davis boxed sets for
Sony/Columbia, along with co-arranger Louiz Banks
(celebrated keyboardist from India), has recast familiar
themes from such landmark recordings as Bitches
Brew, In A Silent Way, and Kind of Blue with an East
Meets West sensibility on Miles...From India. An
incredibly ambitious project involving two dozen
musicians from two separate continents recording in
studios around the world, Miles...From India is a cross-cultural summit meeting that puts a provocative pan-global spin on such Miles
classics as All Blues, Spanish Key, So What, It s About That Time and Jean Pierre.
Sitar and tablas, ghatam and khanjira, mridangam and Carnatic violin blend seamlessly with muted trumpet and saxophones, screaming
electric guitar and grooving electric bass lines, piano, upright bass and drums on this profound fusion of Indian classical and American
jazz. Recorded in Mumbai and Madras, India and New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, the music on Miles...From India was performed by
classical and jazz musicians from India with the addition of musicians who have recorded or performed with Miles Davis over the span of
The Miles alumni included on the sessions are saxophonists Dave Liebman (1972-74) and Gary Bartz (1970-71), guitarists Mike Stern
(1981-84), Pete Cosey (1973-76) and John McLaughlin (1969-72), bassists Ron Carter (1963-69), Michael Henderson (1970-76), Marcus
Miller (1981-1984), Benny Rietveld (1987-91), keyboardists Chick Corea (1968-72), Adam Holzman (1985-87) and Robert Irving III (1980-
88), drummers Jimmy Cobb (1958-63), Leon 'Ndugu' Chancler (1971), Lenny White (1969) and Vince Wilburn (1981, 1984-1987) and
tabla player Badal Roy (1972-3). The Indian contingent is represented by keyboardist Louiz Banks, drummer Gino Banks, American-born
alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, sitarist Ravi Chari, Vikku Vinayakram (a charter member of Shakti) on ghatam, V. Selvaganesh (a
member of Shakti and Remember Shakti) on khanjira, U. Shrinivas (from Remember Shakti) on electric mandolin, Brij Narain on sarod,
Dilshad Khan on sarangi, Sridhar Parthasarathy on mridangam, Taufiq Qureshi and A. Sivamani on percussion, Kala Ramnath on Carnatic
violin, Rakesh Chaurasia on flute and Shankar Mahadevan & Sikkil Gurucharan on Indian classical vocals.
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Many tribute recordings are pale and lame, because making such a release requires wisdom and finesse. A tribute is not a recreating, doing covers that sound as much like the original as possible. That is for cheap bar bands to do. Rather, a tribute should honor the spirit of the artist and contribute something new through arrangements and playing. As such, tributes often fail for several reasons.
1. The arrangements differ too much from the originals
2. The wrong players are enlisted.
3. The wrong form of music is used. (I have not heard it, but I wager that "A Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica makes this error.)
However, this recording makes none of those mistakes and shines in its own radiance. The tunes selected fit the extended Eastern raga sensibility. The players are either Miles alumni or those whose tastes and style fit those of Miles. Rowney's tribute sounds very much like Miles, which is not easy. However, he is not a clone; he has his own voice.
I guess the project was interesting though.
In this set, a wonderful and very difficult idea has been implemented well.
This listener wishes to humbly claim being able to "hear" jazz as well as Indian classical (some 40 years of listening and study of both types - I have met and heard the wondrous Wallace Roney - a genius in his own right, also Ravi Shankar, Chaurasia, Ellington, Armstrong, Charlie Byrd)
So when I say, the jazz in this album is great, the Indian very good, but not quite as great as the jazz, perhaps you will take me even slightly seriously.
It is difficult to decide if Wallace Roney is the star (but then this is the jazz devotee speaking)or should it be young Rakesh Chaurasia (his surname not a coincidence - how could a surname surpass this one?) sounding like the wind in the trees, as a Bansuri should. Divine breath.
In any event, for a jazz lover (I am one - it is my religion) this is a must-have album.
Not too many Indian music aficionados will see all there is, because jazz used to be foreign.
Overall, do yourself a favour. Buy this album.
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Recorded in Chennai, India between November 2006 and July 2007 this work we owe thanks to Bob Belden for making this...Read more