|Miles from India (2-CD Set)
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“It’s a pleasant shock to report that Miles From India does for Davis what Davis occasionally did for jazz: puts a faithful yet beguilingly innovative twist on a long-cherished but sometimes too-familiar artistry...The execution of this synthesis is brilliant, owing in part to superb arrangements by longtime Miles champion, Bob Belden.” UTNE READER
“The Indian players are top-notch, but it’s the presence of so many veteran sidemen that is truly impressive. Davis fans will be glad to see familiar names like Jimmy Cobb, Chick Corea, Dave Liebman...an emotionally satisfying and instrumentally challenging collection.” DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE
“The ingenious two-CD Miles from India is arguably the most ambitious and certainly the most hybrid of Miles Davis tribute projects...a scintillating cross-pollination of music rooted in extended improvisations and buoyed by the sonic spice of Indian instruments....”
“...this brilliant set not only features a number of India’s finest musicians but a veritable who’s who of Miles’ own sidemen...The beauty of Miles from India is how the players from different cultures and backgrounds meet on Miles’ turf with their individual voices completely intact. Miles from India is not only an amazing celebration of the music of Miles Davis, it’s also a tribute to the way Miles and Teo Macero changed the way jazz music can be made...Belden has outdone himself and delivered a tribute that succeeds completely on every level. Kudos to all involved.”
In a startlingly original recreation of music associated with jazz legend Miles Davis, producer Bob Belden with the help of India keyboardist and co-arranger, Louiz Banks has recast familiar themes from such landmark recordings as Bitches Brew, In A Silent Way, and Kind of Blue with an East Meets West sensibility on Miles From India. An incredibly ambitious project involving two dozen musicians from two separate continents recording in studios around the world, Miles From India is a cross-cultural summit meeting that puts a provocative pan-global spin on such Miles classics as “All Blues,” “Spanish Key,” “So What,” “It’s About That Time” and “Jean Pierre.”
Sitar and tablas, ghatam and khanjira, mridangam and Carnatic violin blend seamlessly with muted trumpet and saxophones, screaming electric guitar and grooving electric bass lines, piano, upright bass and drums on this profound fusion of Indian classical and American jazz. Recorded in Mumbai and Madras, India and New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, the music on Miles From India was performed by classical and jazz musicians from India with the addition of musicians who have recorded or performed with Miles Davis over the span of five decades.
Producer-archivist Belden, renowned for his Grammy Award-winning reissue work on a series of Miles Davis boxed sets for Sony/Columbia, explains the genesis of Miles From India. “Yusuf Gandhi, who heads 4Q Records, and I have had conversations about doing this for the past several years. Yusuf had the connection to India and an understanding of Indian classical music along with an appreciation for jazz and also fusion music. So we had some mutual interests there. At some point we were talking about potential projects and I was just in the process of doing the On The Corner boxed set. Of course, Miles incorporated tabla and sitar on those sessions from 1972, so I suggested revisiting Miles’ Indian influenced music using some of those guys from On The Corner along with some Indian classical musicians and calling it Miles From India. Yusuf said, ‘Perfect,’ and that was it.”
Adds Gandhi, “Jazz musicians have always listened to Indian music and Indian musicians know jazz. Right now there are so many great young musicians in India that people in America have never heard of. You hear about the Ravi Shankar family and other prominent musicians from India, but you don’t hear about the younger musicians who are out there doing innovative things. So we wanted to get some of them into the picture on this project.”
The Miles alumni included on the sessions are saxophonists Gary Bartz (1970-71) and Dave Liebman (1972-74). Guitarists include John McLaughlin (1969-72), Pete Cosey (1973-76) and Mike Stern (1981-84). Bassists Ron Carter (1963-69), Michael Henderson (1970-76), Marcus Miller (1981-1984) and Benny Rietveld (1987-91). Keyboardists Chick Corea (1968-72), Robert Irving III (1980-88) and Adam Holzman (1985-87). Drummers Jimmy Cobb (1958-63), Lenny White (1969), Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chancler (1971), Vince Wilburn (1981, 1984-1987) and tabla player Badal Roy (1972-3). The Indian contingent is represented by keyboardist Louiz Banks, drummer Gino Banks, American-born alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, sitarist Ravi Chari, Vikku Vinayakram (a charter member of Shakti) on ghatam, V. Selvaganesh (a member of Shakti and Remember Shakti) on khanjira, U. Shrinivas (from Remember Shakti) on electric mandolin, Brij Narain on sarod, Dilshad Khan on sarangi, Sridhar Parthasarathy on mridangam, Ranjit Barot on drums, Taufiq Qureshi and A. Sivamani on percussion, Kala Ramnath on Carnatic violin, Rakesh Chaurasia on flute and Shankar Mahadevan & Sikkil Gurucharan on Indian classical vocals.
The lone commissioned work on “Miles From India” is the stirring title track, composed, produced and performed by guitarist John McLaughlin with his Remember Shakti bandmate U. Shrinivas on electric mandolin, Louiz Banks on piano and Sikkil Gurucharan on vocals.
|Miles from India