Mon. Nov. 29, 2021

Miles Davis – Tutu (LP Version) (Warner Bros.)

This Beat Is Mine! Miles Davis – Tutu (Warner Bros.)

As a tribute to Desmond Tutu, an opponent of the Apartheid, but also the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa. The opening cut to Miles Davis‘s 1986 album of the name…

Further to his experimentations along with producer Robert Irving III the year before on his ‘You’re Under Arrest’ album, Davis was to brave extra critics. This time for relying way too much on synths and drum machines according to the self-proclaimed purists. Nothing of a surprise though regarding those who’ve spent their time redefining their art. From Herbie Hancock to Pharoah Sanders and the list goes on, whatever the discipline might be…

‘Tutu’ displays another facet of Davis. Teaming up with producers Marcus Miller and the late Tommy LiPuma, he brings us into some fascinating cinematic atmosphere. On a lazy electric Funk led rythym pattern somehow reminding of Stanley Clarke at times…

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Considering music not only as a myriad of different styles, but first and foremost as a whole will get us to evoke the existence of artists whose legacies just stand above the barriers. As many geniuses such as, in no order of preference, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and / or Santana. But also U2, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan. If not Serge Gainsbourg with Miles Davis makin’ no exception. But rather than comin’ up with an extensive bio which could be off the subject to a certain extend, we’ll focus on things in relation with our coverage spectrum.

A native of Alton, IL, Miles Davis is so to say to Jazz what Fela Kuti happened to be to Afrobeat. And / or Bob Marley to Reggae. In other words, an innovator, a pioneer. If not a prophet and most definitely an icon who spent his life redefining his art along with time.

As a result, Davis most likely belongs to the category of those we happen to love or hate. With some of us lovin’ him for what the others will hate and vice-versa. With the first objective reason being that he had a natural penchant for takin’ us – beginning with himself – from our comfort zone as a matter of fact. Something so many of us reacted in a negative way. Although it happened to give birth to some of the most unexpected things one could expect at the end. With this being nothing but the proper of free spirits per definition.

Yes, Miles Davis pretty much embodies this idea that first comes to mind when thinkin’ of Jazz… Freedom! This being pretty much how he managed to deliver so many different masterpieces. With the most surprising being the fact they didn’t have that much to do with each other. Although they pretty much had their effect at the end. Beginning with ‘So What’ and its mythic live recording at The Robert Herridge Theater back in 1959. With the latter standing as the definitive highlight of his ‘Kind Of Blue’ album. An effort which remains to date the highest selling jazz album of all time with six million copies sold. This following his recording back in November 1957 of the soundtrack to ‘Ascenseur pour l’échafaud’ directed by Louis Malle.

Exploring all the facets of Jazz brought Davis to embrace groovier territories in the 80’s. From his cover version of D-Train‘s ‘Something’s On Your Mind’ with production work courtesy of Robert Irving III back in 1985. To the recording of the magnetic ‘Tutu’ along with Marcus Miller in charge of the production. Not to mention collaborations with various artists. From Artists United Against Apartheid‘s ‘Sun City’ in 1985 to Sly & Robbie, Cameo and Quincy Jones. Not to mention Scritti Politti‘s vibrant ‘Oh Patti (Don’t Feel Sorry For Loverboy)’.

In early September 1991, Davis checked into St. John’s Hospital near his home in Santa Monica, CA, for routine tests. Doctors suggested he have a tracheal tube implanted to relieve his breathing after repeated bouts of bronchial pneumonia. Their suggestion provoked an outburst from Davis that led to an intracerebral hemorrhage followed by a coma. After several days on life support, his machine was turned off and he sadly died, aged 65, on Sept. 28, 1991.

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