Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Giacomo Gates Miles Tunes Savant 2013

Miles Tones - Giacomo Gates sings the music of Miles Davis Never been a big Miles Davis fan,  yes I realize I may be one of three critics that will openly admit that so allow me the privilege of qualification. "Later Miles" for me is somewhat of a classic Blue Note style artist doing his own riff on the European jazz scene. 75 year old plus Enrico Rava is more my speed and a devoted student of the Davis discography but this release is not about the trumpet but rather sublime vocalist Giacomo Gates doing his own riff on classic Miles or tunes closely associated with the jazz icon and the results are stellar.

Miles with vocals has never been attempted, at least not a complete recording. Up and coming trumpet star Freddie Hendrix holds down the trumpet chair in this most auspicious if not daring recording. Hendrix can play, as my friend Randy Jackson would say,, "He can play the phone book" but sitting in as a virtual Miles Davis is perhaps more pressure than this young phenom is ready for. Don't get me wrong, Hendrix does a rock solid job and gives a first rate performance but the emotional connection to the music seems to be missing for whatever reason. Hendrix does pair nicely with Gates so we can call it a push. Leader and first call pianist who is no stranger to the HighNote Savant family is John DiMartino and his arrangements are spot on and take what could be a better than average recording to the next level. The all star rhythm section is rounded out by Lonnie Plaxico on bass and Victor Ector on drums. The Miles Davis swing is not lost, simply reinvented as all good music can and should be on occasion. Gates owns these tunes while not disrespecting the originals or Davis or better still himself. Dave Stryker simply kills it on guitar.

A majority of the tunes selected for this session were written with words from acclaimed lyricists Oscar Brown Jr. along with Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks so the celebratory nature of this recording extends well past the virtuosity of Miles and includes some of the greatest lyrical poets of his age, maybe ever.

Maybe your not into vocal jazz but you dig Miles and an even tighter band then this may be exactly what you are looking for. This is Giacomo Gates doing his own spin on Miles, flipping it as Miles would probably appreciate and making these tunes his own if only for the length of the record. The HighNote/Savant family is long known for fine vocal jazz and this is no exception.

4.5 Stars

Tracks: All Blues; Be-Bop Lives; Four; Round Midnight; I Fall In Love Too Easily; TuTu; MilesTones; You're My Everything; So What; Walkin'.