Monday, March 14, 2011

Yo Miles! – Lightning (There Records, 2010)

Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and guitarist Henry Kaiser are keeping the spirit of Miles Davis great electrical music circa 1969-1975 very much alive by playing music that was influenced by the original source material, but brought up to date by their original compositions and improvisations. Smith and Kaiser are added and abetted by a number of different musicians on this album which begins with the lengthy opening jam “Thunder and Lightning.” Clocking in at over twenty minutes, the music develops into an improvised suite-like formation with long spacey periods punctuated by blasts of noise and feedback. “Cozy Pete,” presumably dedicated to the former Davis guitarist Pete Cosey is a strong and concise performance with punching, muscular trumpet (Davis was a great boxing fan) and agile, slippery guitar. “Tsapiky Frelimo," a riff on the Davis composition “Calypso Frelimo” from Get Up With It. Yo Miles is a great band to hear live and this track proves it, evoking some wonderfully energetic playing from all concerned, especially the percussionists and co-leaders. If you are a partisan of Miles Davis’s electrical music, especially the albums that were originally only released in Japan in the early and mid 70’s you will definitely find this one enjoyable. The energy level is sky high, and the sense of joy and freedom is palpable. Yo Miles! Lightning -

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