Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith’s co-leadership with experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser in the Yo Miles jazz fusion band, intimates a modern slant on Miles Davis’ fusion years. And as the producers suggest in the press kit, this outing could also offer a hint of the direction or musical panoramas Miles might be pursuing today.
Founded upon stunning electro-acoustic vistas, this ensemble proposes a compelling sonic palate, tinted with an organic flavor. Here, studio effects and computer processing whiz, Walter Quintas generates a harrowing cycle of events as these generally brief, but interweaving works present a litmus test for one’s psyche. Contrasts abound, partly due to Smith’s darkly uttered muted trumpet lines, and Miroslav Tadic’s acoustic guitar-based phrasings. The music can be sullen, capacious or at times, cataclysmic and harmonically pleasing. In addition, the ensemble’s interactions often spark notions of an eerie, calm-before-the-storm mindset. On certain movements, Mark Nauseef’s rumbling percussion exercises are nicely shaded by Tadic’s softly enacted progressions, counterbalanced by live electronics. Every so often, the musicians’ sound as though they are performing within a cosmic void, where Quintus’ ethereal sound swashes hearken imageries of eternal nothingness. Nonetheless, it’s a remarkable listening experience: One that stands rather mightily amid some of today’s reckless and unfocused electronic drivel. (Zealously recommended.... )