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Miles Davis shocked the music world in 1985 when he left Columbia Records after 30 years to join Warner Bros. Records. In October of that year, he began recording the album Rubberband in Los Angeles at Ameraycan Studios with producers Randy Hall and Zane Giles. The musical direction Davis was taking during the sessions marked a radical departure, with the inclusion of funk and soul grooves; with plans to feature guest vocalists Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan. Eventually, the album was shelved and Davis went on to record Tutu, leaving the Rubberband songs unheard and untouched for over 30 years.
- Product Dimensions : 5.55 x 4.92 x 0.08 inches; 2.05 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Rhino/Warner Bros.
- Original Release Date : 2019
- Date First Available : June 12, 2019
- Label : Rhino/Warner Bros.
- ASIN : B07SRF2144
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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But it's nice to report that this release of Rubberband is actually quite fun and satisfying to hear, and I found myself immediately repeating the experience after an initial uninterrupted listen. It's great to hear Davis's trumpet lines again (of course), both muted and open, and the overall mix and production sounds fine. A special treat with the disc is the occasional insertion of Miles's own distinctive voice, both in the background and foreground of the music. There's a strange kind of ethereal feel to the music overall that adds a lot; as if Davis's trumpet, echoing from a different spiritual time and place, floats with approval and bursts of joyful enthusiasm over the basic tracks that Wilburn, Hall and Giles have laid down.
Rubberband is on a par with most other 1980's Miles Davis recordings, and it far exceeds Doo Wop as a "final bow" from one of the greatest jazz and jazz fusion innovators of the 20th Century. I don't think many Miles Davis fans with realistic expectations will be disappointed by it; instead, I think they'll be pleasantly surprised.
After Miles’ death, the rumor of the “Rubberband Session” had been spread among Miles fans. Jan Lohmann’s “The Discography” had stimulated curiosity among Miles fans, while well supporting it’s release. He wrote, Miles was in the studio several times between 10/17/’85 and the “Tutu” sessions in Feb./Mar./’86. Many of the titles had no trumpet on them and many were just studio jams with and without Miles. After a while, as if slaking fan’s thirst, “Black Album” was presented before us. This CD was miscellanies from various sessions, including past live performances, music from “Street Smart,” and recordings from the mysterious rubberband session. We convinced, at our discretion, that there weren’t enough materials left to make a LP. We can hear raw versions of 2.5 times longer “Maze,” one minute shorter “Rubberband,” and one minute longer “See I See.”
All of a sudden, at the last year’s Record Store Day, “Rubberband EP” was released. Hearing them, we thought another remix album like “Panthalassa” has been put into the market. However, the story has never ended there. One year after, legendary “Rubberband” presents its whole picture in front of us. Vince Wilburn Jr., Randy Hall, and Zane Giles were all happy to revisit what they’d produced 32 years before. They testify they didn’t recreate. They revisited and added a few sprinkles, like calypso and go-go, and newly composed some around the Miles sound. They still remember Miles wanted to experiment to mesh what he did with what they were doing as young musicians, which was commercial and funk. The work took three years to materialize. The result is exuberant. How Miles came up with the melody of “This Is It.” He was said to be listening intensively to Scritti Politti back then. “Give It Up” rocks our funky spirits. Especially, four vocal tracks capture our heart. They brought in vocalists Ledisi and Lalah Hathaway to cut the tunes that Chaka Khan was to have done. Calypso flavored “Paradise (a.k.a. Let’s Fly Away),” sang by Medina Johnson, throws us into a crowd of a carnival parade. Lala Hathaway’s voicing is “So Emotional” and mesmerizing, which directly appeals to our mind. “I Love What We Make Together” has a close feel with “Tutu.” The original version of this song, “Al Jarreau” first appeared during Miles’ European tour, in Dec., ’85. Hall ended up handling vocals on the track by himself. “Echos In Time” leads us on to “Kind Of Blue” era. Their idea, giving shelved materials a feeling of today’s mixes, proved immensely successful. Their approach, in staying close to the sounds of Miles, and giving us a sense of what they were doing back then, much contribute to their success.
Top reviews from other countries
This album has very much that feel. The play ebbs and flows, with Miles making the occasional run up the wing and calling for the ball, but despite the clear talent and the odd well-placed pass the sound is weak and reedy and he doesn't have much impact on the game.
Until track 10. The first 100 seconds or so are sublime. The horn is strong and lyrical, the sound front and centre. We could be back to the "In a Silent Way" sessions. Unfortunately, the producers did not have the guts to leave it there and the game begins again, the track goes on for several minutes, breaking the spell.
So, if you like what the team are doing, buy the album and try to admire the contribution Miles made. If you like Miles, buy the album and listen to the first 100 seconds of track 10. That alone is worth the price of admission.