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Miles from India (TWO CD SET)

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
five decades.
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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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: FOUR QUARTERS ENT
  • ASIN: B00140GWSE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,847 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Williams on May 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Miles from India features an all star cast of jazz legends, contemporary jazz stars combined with a stellar group of Indian musicians in an unbelievable tribute to Miles Davis. The first time I listened to this double CD set I was absolutely floored. This CD is more than just a brilliant concept. The execution is flawless and the arrangements are beyond perfect. This CD set will make you think Miles Davis' songs were meant to be played by Indian musicians. Everything about this album is a class act. To start with an incredible group of Miles Davis alumni were assembled. You've got Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Gary Bartz, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Lenny White and that's just scratching the surface of the legends whom play on this album. Producer Bob Beldon did not stop there though. He also got one of the top trumpet players, and perhaps the trumpet player whose tone most sounds like Miles, Wallace Rooney and Indian saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, one of the hottest rising stars on saxophone to contribute on the album as well.
The songs selection and arrangements could not be better. The chanting voices on Spanish Key fit in beautifully with the cacophony of sounds. The sitar playing on All Blues will make you think that Miles wrote the song for a sitar player. The frenetic tablas and percussion meld perfectly with the class bass line in So What. This is the clear front runner for jazz album of the year in 2008. When all is said and done, this might be one of the best jazz fusion albums ever.
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Miles Davis passed away in 1991, but his majesty has lived on through any number of reissues, boxed sets of classic sessions and the reinterpretation of his music in a variety of settings.

This set - placing Miles in a World Music context - is sweeping in scoop and breathtaking in sound. The project was overseen by producer Bob Belden and co-arranged by Louiz Banks, who also performed on keyboards.

Utilizing classical and jazz artists from India and musicians who mostly performed with Miles during his "electric" years, the 12 numbers - which include In a Spanish Key, Silent Way, Jean Pierre and Miles Runs the Voodoo Down - are powerfully presented on an illuminated landscape that subtly changes with each listening.

But it's the title track - composed, produced and performed by guitarist John McLaughlin with U. Shrinivas on electric mandolin, Louiz Banks on piano and Sikkil Gurucharan on vocals - that merges the sketches of excellence of the past with the brilliance of the present.

The project is not just a tribute to the genius of Miles, but an absolute gem in the art of making modern music.
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Some people have been disappointed that this project did not realise its full hybrid potential, and perhaps not unduly so. However, we must remember that the music of Miles' electric period was already inflected with Indian musical structures and musicians, irrespective of the extent of explicitly Indian instrumentation (surely part of its appeal to me). On Miles From India I will concede that some tracks are more successful than others in their achievement of indo-jazz synergy. But for example, Spanish Key is absolutely incredible- a really distinctive interpretation with a pronounced Indian inflection, and reason alone to purchase this. As an obsessive about this era of Miles' music, this rendition really caught my attention, filling me with delight.

Others have complained that the project suffers from the segregation of its recording, with separate sessions in India and the US (reducing the carbon footprint of its production), with the music only combined in production, thereby depriving the musicians from the dynamic intersubjectivity of shared being. This too I will partially concede. Again however, I will defend this project by noting just how successful the dynamic integration of component parts has generally been. And after all, so much of this era of Miles' music was a cut and paste job by Teo Macero anyway.

In recent years we have been treated to Bill Laswell's Panthalassa project and its dance remixes, to Henry Kaiser and Leo Wadada Smith's Yo Miles! project (producing three wonderful CDs), and to the potent live performances on the Children on The Corner album. Miles From India represents another worthy addition to a body of work that so warrants celebration through reinterpretation. Whether these projects try to innovate or replicate, I'm still happy to hear alternative versions of so many tracks that I love so much. Great stuff.
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I was excited about it when I heard about the project -- I loved the concept. I knew it had some key people, like Michael Henderson, Bartz, Pete, Chick Corea, Lenny White. And to my ears, the music came off "good" overall. But -- with a a couple of exceptions (Spanish Key, Ife), it is missing that thing, that DRAMA. I think those listeners who have followed Miles all these years know what I'm trying to say - it's the thing that makes his music NEVER get old, always fresh. But I can't fault anybody involved with this Miles From India record - my hats are off to you - this session truly must have been a labor of love. Yes, the drama is missing . . . but only because Miles couldn't be there.
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