It is not an easy task to play Miles Davis music, no matter what period of his long career you prefer. Gerry Gibbs chose the years of 1967 -1975. This period in Miles career was his transition from classic Jazz to fusion Jazz.
For those not familiar with Miles career, he started playing in the years of Be Bop with Charlie Parker, later he was one of the creators of the cool jazz style. In the 60's he play hard bop and at the end of the 60's, beginning of the 70's, he was one of the first to mix jazz with rock, creating a new style called fusion jazz.
On this album you will find some of the classic Miles from this period, like Directions, Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, Pinocchio and Nefertiti. But what Gerry and these great musicians did here is not a exact copy of Miles music, it is more like a tribute. You are going to recognized the melodies and rhythms of Miles band but you will find new improvisations and interpretations of these classics.
Being a Miles tribute, obviously the trumpet is one of the highlights and Brian Swartz does a nice job on trumpet, playing great solos with a similar tone to Miles Davis. But every musician on this album play hard and keep the energy level up, with powerful guitar improvisations by Mike Hoffman on Double Image and Miles runs from the Voodoo. Melodic sax solos by Doug Webb on Bitches Brew, Masqualero and In a Silent Way. Cool sound effects and solos by Andy Langham on keyboards and the vocals improvisations are simply wonderful.
But the heroes are definitely the rhythm section, Gerry Gibbs on drums and the bass players, Brandon Rivas and Essiet Okon Essiet, playing with the fire required on tracks like Masqualero, Pinnochio and Travere and keeping the funky groove on tracks like Black Satin and Right Off. On his CD notes, Gerry wrote that after the recording session he took a five hours car ride listening to the music they just recorded. Actually that is not a bad idea, this album is perfect for a long car ride.
I will not join the discussion on what is and what is not jazz. If you are one of those who thinks Jazz evolution and history stopped in the 60's, maybe this album is not for you. But if you like good music, no matter the jazz style, you are going to enjoy this one.