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Traveling Miles

4.4 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 23, 1999
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Product Description

WILSON CASSANDRA TRAVELING MILES

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Cassandra Wilson's tribute to Miles Davis, Traveling Miles, is nothing if not ambitious--easily on par with the other slew of Davis tribs. Covering the great trumpeter's long career is alone quite a challenge, but Wilson sets her goals even higher by writing new lyrics and arrangements that make these tunes her own. The result is a pleasure that ends up capturing Wilson's spirit as well as Davis's. Never one to hew to traditional jazz's formats, Wilson adds acoustic and slide guitars, percussion, harmonica, and other instruments that give the album an enormously varied feel. "Right Here, Right Now," with its strummed and slide guitars, wouldn't sound out of place on a Joni Mitchell album, and her intriguing cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" (covered by Davis in 1985 on You're Under Arrest), is delicately mournful. Not that Wilson has left jazz behind: the swinging version of "Seven Steps to Heaven," with guest solos by violinist Regina Carter and vibraphonist Stefon Harris, whose 1998 debut was one of the year's promising releases, is a highlight. And Wilson's version of the Davis classic "Blue in Green" (here titled "Sky and Sea"), is just plainly beautiful. Her deep and soulful voice remains as compelling as ever through the many moods and colors, deepening the uniqueness of her take on the Miles songbook. Exactly the way Miles would have wanted it. --Ezra Gale
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 23, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B00000I8UE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As I grow older and demand something more interesting and innovative to listen to ,yet produce a rewarding result,I am constantly prepared to persevere with something conceptual and unusual.This tribute to Miles Dewey Davis, and a showcase to the talent and ambition of Ms Wilson,is just such a recording. From the outset this is an adult work,at times not quite hitting the mark,but bursting with genuine emotion and interpretative understanding that Miles would have surely approved.
I would recommend that this CD be listened to at least four or five times before passing any form of judgement..in fact it is playing as I type this review.It is a multi layered and complicated and yet at times jazzy and delicate, being a showcase for Ms Wilson's at times,*whiskey and cigarette* voice and at other times husky and melancholy delivery.At all times her vocals are interesting,and I note a pleasing duet with another great voice,Angelique Kidjo,on the final cut,Voodoo Reprise.Ms Wilson 's range is substantial and hynotic on this CD.I will, with relish, listen to her previous recordings of jazz standards and blues influenced material,for a further fix.
The CD opens with one of the stronger tracks,Run The Voodoo Down,and closes with a Reprise.The music of Miles Davis is complimented by the lyrics of Ms Wilson perfectly and this is an interpretive funky fusion of Afro beats and deep earthy vocals which set a pace that is continued throughout the CD.In fact praise should be given to the musicians on this CD,especially to the percussion and base credits of Lonnie Plaxico on acoustic base on most tracks and Jeffrey Haynes on percussion.It is pleasing to see a jazz artist stretch the boundaries and include mandolin,greek bazouki,harmonica,and an assortment of guitar variations.
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Format: Audio CD
Excellent tribute to my favorite artist, Miles Dewey Davis. This is music that you listen to in the dark, from another room with your eyes closed and you take this beautiful voyage riding on the deep and soulful voice of Cassandra Wilson. She flows so well and reaches deep inside and when you do open your eyes, it is only to put this CD on repeat and succumb to her entrancing voice. "Sky and Sea"(Blue and Green) is outstanding and her cover of "Time after time" had to impress Cyndy Lauper and definetly make Miles smile. One to keep in the carousel.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a fan of Cassandra Wilson's song stylings since I picked up Blue Skies, a album of jazz standards. Her smoky alto and impeccable delivery were magnificent and made me a fan forever. I will admit that it took some time for Traveling Miles to grow on me. I love her voice and would listen to her sing just about anything, but I wasn't feeling this CD immediately -- it seemed a little skittish what with her eclectic influences. But I soon realized that her eclectic sensibilities are what makes her one of my favorite artists.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
TRAVELING MILES is a more challenging listen than Cassandra's more popular albums, BLUE LIGHT TIL DAWN and NEW MOON DAUGHTER. The arrangements and the musicianship are superb but the material leans more to the avant-garde, though not excessively. Obviously the album is a tribute to the genius, Miles Davis, whose music was cuttng edge for its time. It has become my favorite Cassandra album because of its more creative genre. The double vinyl album is well recorded. The physical manufacture of the vinyl is very good, although expect a few light pops per side.
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Format: Audio CD
It is a particularly difficult thing to do, recreating the spirit of a musician with such a enormous persolity as Miles through a tribute album, without falling in mannerism or without simply copying the original. Cassandra didin't go wrong here, proving to be a true artist (like John McLaughlin in his tribute to Bill Evans). She tributed Miles here recreating his blackness, his sophisticated use of space and his sense of harmony but without coping him. The music here is both Davis and Wilson. It's not atribute in a sense, it is Miss Wilson who meets Miles Davis. I really feel Miles's spirit in these voodo, black arrangements when you have slide or acoustic guitars and percussions for example, and I feel his presence too in the way Cassandra use wide spaces in tunes such as Tutu or Blue in green. The totally absence of virtuosisms, the will to tell a story and to give each note weight .. this is truly what Miles was about essentially and you can find him here in these tunes. The ones I love the most are the opener, Someday my prince will come, Tutu and Blue in green. They are original versions of these songs, absolutly not common or already heard versions. I think that you have to be really courageous to realize an album such as this one, tributing Miles but injecting in this music your own vision. You have to be a true artist, such as Cassandra. My plause! Morevoer I think this album could be enjoyed by the jazz novices too because it is not a difficult album, it maintains a sense of natural easyness.. and it has a very contemporary, interesting atmosphere with nice sounds. Very good. I'd give four stars and a half it it was an option. I choose five against four because it's very rare to find an artist with enough personality to do things like this.
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