A bold claim to be sure, but Miles Davis' A Tribute to Jack Johnson is the best jazz-record ever made.
Equally inspired by the leader's desire to assemble the "greatest rock and roll band you have ever heard" as well as his adoration of Johnson, Davis created a hard-hitting set that spills over with excitement, intensity, majesty, and power. Bridging the electric fusion he'd pursued on earlier efforts with a funkier, dirtier rhythmic approach, Davis zeroes in on concepts of spontaneity, freedom, and identity seldom achieved in the studio. Mobile Fidelity's sterling Hybrid Stereo SACD brings it all to fore with unsurpassed realism.
Indeed, utilizing wah-wah and distortion, guitarist John McLaughlin comes on here with a nasty edge, slashing style, and vicious streak that allows A Tribute to Jack Johnson to finally cross the divide between rock and jazz. Davis explodes in white-hot trumpet solos like never before. Bristling with exuberance, his high-register passages explode with authority and commanding presence. Around him, a barrage of urgent backbeats, knifing riffs, and three-dimensional bass lines emerge amidst an ink-black background.
Producer and journalist Michael Cuscuna may have summed up the record's significance in 2003: "The dense textures introduced and developed the prior fall on the Bitches Brew recording sessions gave way to a lean, stripped-down, guitar-heavy sound. There was now only one drummer, and that kept the groove more pronounced and defined. The three-keyboard configuration appears only on the last session; the rest have none, one, or two, and they are used sparingly."
|Brand||Columbia / Mobile Fidelity|
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