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Tutu

4.1 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

DAVIS MILES TUTU
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002LAB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,222 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Miles Davis Store

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Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on October 21, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In 1985, Miles Davis' thirty year association with Columbia Records came to an end and the jazz legend, who managed to reinvent jazz a dozen times over managed to reinvent the price value of jazz recording contracts when he signed with Warner Brothers. What Davis unfortunately didn't seem to do was read past the bottom line and his royalties for songwriting would lie with Warner Brothers, not with him. As a result, Davis refused to compose anything on his own and instead brought his former bass player Marcus Miller to compose for him. Miller wrote compositions for Davis and set up a framework in which the trumpeter could solo. The first album resulting from this collaboration, "Tutu", proves to be one of the great records of Davis' career, and like "Sketches of Spain" before it, provides a powerful launching pad for Davis and coaxes out of him one of his best performances.

Musically, the album is guaranteed to alienate Davis fans everywhere-- while he'd abandoned acoustic instruments as the only way to go in the '60s, this album was an embracing of synthesizers, drum machines, and electric instruments, even moreso than his previous records were. Miller performed all the electric and acoustic instruments (including bass guitar, electric guitar, at least some live drums, soprano sax, bass clarinet and synthesizers) with additional contributions in synth programming from Ron Miles and Adam Holzman and one track ("Backyard Ritual") where George Duke assumes the framing role. The album does sound (particularly in the drum tracks) a bit dated, but this in no way gets in the way of enjoying the album anymore than acoustic basses get in the way of enjoying Davis' '50s work-- in fact, it all adds to the ambience.
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Format: Audio CD
I got into Miles through this album and have since collected most of his albums. Tutu for me is the outstanding track. Whoever heard a drum machine swing like this before? Much credit has to be given to Marcus Miller for what he has created here. As the credit notes say, "Miles Davis - Trumpet all other instruments Marcus Miller except indicated". You could call this a Miller album. I don't think there is a weak track here. Even George Duke's Backyard Ritual is a treat. Portia the ballad is fantastic. Just listen to the outro, it is an inspired piece of composing. Listen to the chords on this album and if you can, work them out. It'll change they way you think about harmonies and chord progressions. Perfect Way is an interesting choice. It's a cover of Scritti Politti's tune. To date still my favourite electric Miles album. A must for any lover of fusion or funk. If I was stranded on a desert island with my Discman, this album would be with me. 5 stars
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Format: 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.
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Format: Audio CD
I own about 90 Miles Davis CDs and have read maybe 1/2 dozen biographies and his autobiography. I know this man reasonably well even though I never met him. I feel qualified to render a highly informed opinion on any of his works. It is all about taste people. Miles Davis NEVER made crappy, substandard music. Tutu is great music... but it's all about taste and context when it comes to opinions and review. Here goes:

We all know the story about how Miles failed to read the fine print for his new Warner Bros contract and had to revolt in order to protect the latter years of his compositional legacy from default ownership by Warner Bros. Davis brought in Marcus Miller to write and arrange all but one piece (Backyard Ritual). The resulting music is very poppy funk that has a lot going on "up inside of it" (to quote one of the Man's lines). The arrangements are first class, very nice. Again, I've said elsewhere that Miles (like Joe Zawinul) relied far to much on synthesizers to set up his "big band" sound (that is in fact what he said he was trying to achieve with these instruments) and today much of that music has a great big ol' 80's decal stuck on it. Compare this to Miles' other work sans synthesizers whether it be his work in the 50's or up through the mid 70's, that music all sounds timeless. This is because electronic instruments are continuously improved upon and new sounds become "fads" (e.g., the sort of "breathy" pan-pipes used on Tutu) and we all know what happens to fads... the same thing that happened to all the paisley shirts, Nehru jackets, and mullet cuts each in their own time. They got old and out dated. Never the less, Tutu gets 5 stars from me. It isn't my favorite Miles' by a country mile ;) but, this is very well crafted music and the playing is strong.
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