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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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
OK so this is not classic Miles, but in it's own right this is one bad assed album. If you missed Miles' 80's sound this album and Amandla are both worth a listen.Published 9 months ago by elmarc
It was a gift for my brother who was delighted by the delux surprise.Published 10 months ago by Maria Roach
Miles' return from his six year hiatus was initially an exciting prospect, and it certainly started out promising. Read morePublished 11 months ago by wildwielder
Fast delivery ,good product ,good description , satisfied price and perceusePublished 12 months ago by ivana