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Miles Smiles

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Miles Smiles - Miles Davis

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Miles Smiles
Miles Davis


l. ORBITS (4:37)

(Wayne Shorter)
Miyako Music Co. (BMI)


2. CIRCLE (5:51)

(Miles Davis)
Warner-Tamerlane Pub. Corp./ Jazz Horn Music (BMI)


3. FOOTPRINTS (9:53)

(Wayne Shorter) Miyako Music Co. (BMI)


4. DOLORES (6:25)

(Wayne Shorter)

Miyako Music Co. (BMI)



(Eddie Harris)

7th House, Ltd. (BMI)



(Jimmy Heath)

MJQ Music, Inc. (BMI)




WAYNE SHORTER Tenor saxophone





Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams appear courtesy of Blue Note Records.


When Miles Davis died, in late summer of 1991, he had spent a lifetime moving people emotionally. Because there were so many facets to his career, so many explored stylistic avenues, Miles had an eclectic following. There were those who felt that he had abandoned jazz and thus, them, when he began using plugged-in instruments; others stayed with him through the early stages of his fusion period, but eventually felt betrayed by his even heavier reliance on electronic devices; and then there were those who didn't mind the synthesizers and souped-up instruments, but thought Miles had lowered his standards when it came to selecting sidemen.


Alter all, the Miles Davis who first caught the imagination of jazz fans was a man whose musical associates were drawn from the top shelf: Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane, Max Roach, Gil Evans, Hank Mobley, Wynton Kelly - the list seemed endless.


Another group of Miles fans saw him in a different light; they were attracted by his wild look, outre clothes and unorthodox demeanor, all of which complemented his intricate musical blend of rock and jazz. These fans generally cared little for the acoustic Miles Davis sound of old, but they knew that he was a giant in the jazz world, a living legend who had moved with changing taste and, indeed, helped to shape it.


Miles was older than most performers they listened to, but he spoke their language; appreciation of his latest sound was a trendy thing to claim.


The fact is that everybody was right. Miles Davis' music took many turns and only a listener of extraordinary broad-mindedness can savor it all; but whether we care for a Miles Davis sound or not, we cannot take away from him the fact that he created it well -he communicated on a number of disparate levels.


Made in October of 1966, Miles Smiles predates the electronic Miles. It is one of his finest acoustic sets yet, perhaps because its release was sandwiched between two extraordinary albums, E.S.P. and The Sorcerer and because it was issued during a particularly creative period in Miles' career, it was never given the attention it deserved. In the latter half of the fifties, Miles rose to the pinnacle of jazz fame with a quintet that included John Coltrane and later, Cannonball Adderley. It was this group that he brought to Columbia Records, where he further enhanced his reputation through a series of extraordinary collaborations with arranger/composer Gil Evans. This period saw him conquer college campuses where" digging" Miles records became as hip as driving an MG and having an FM tuner in the dorm. By the mid-sixties, the college crowd had shifted its allegiance to the Beatles and other pop idols. Miles, determined to maintain a youthful audience, made his own shift by forming a new quintet comprising young musicians. He had always chosen his rhythm sections well, and this was no exception; they were not yet household names, but Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams - all with a conservatory background - were as powerful a propulsive team as any he had previously had, and when he added saxophonist Wayne Shorter, he gave the quintet a sound that captured the essence of the Coltrane group, yet had an identity of its own.


This is the quintet we hear on Miles Smiles, a superb combination that proved to be Miles' last acoustic group, the band that took him to the threshold of the electronic age. The regenerated Miles emerged with Bitches Brew, which also featured Wayne Shorter and indeed, begat fusion music's most celebrated band, Weather Report. As they say, the rest is history, but so is the marvelous, beautiful sound of the superb quintet heard here. This is Miles in top form - a musician undergoing a subtle stylistic transition - performing striking, unadorned jazz. Miles Smiles is an important part of a rich, colorful legacy that will continue to perk up ears of disparate persuasions.


- Chris Albertson

Contributing Editor

Stereo Review


Original Recording produced by Teo Macero

Reissue Producer: John Snyder

Remixed and Digitally Remastered by Vic Anesini at Sony Music Studios, N.Y.C.

Product Manager: Penny Armstrong

Packaging Coordinator: Gina Campanaro

Art Coordinator: Paul M. Martin

Cover Photo: Vernon Smith

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