Tribute to Jack Johnson

A Tribute to Jack Johnson

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by Miles Davis
     
 

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A Tribute To Jack Johnson, with its lean and mean groove, finds Miles Davis in fighting shape, playing as if his reputation was at stake. And with fusion in its controversial early state, some purists felt it was. Davis gives his all to his sterling solos, but he doesn't give an inch when it comes to his funky convictions. A stripped-down ensemble works through

Overview

A Tribute To Jack Johnson, with its lean and mean groove, finds Miles Davis in fighting shape, playing as if his reputation was at stake. And with fusion in its controversial early state, some purists felt it was. Davis gives his all to his sterling solos, but he doesn't give an inch when it comes to his funky convictions. A stripped-down ensemble works through the up-tempo "Right Off" and the slower "Yesternow," digs hard into the rhythm, never losing sight of the dangerous groove set down by electric bassist Michael Henderson and drummer Billy Cobham. As exceptional as Davis sounds, he is given serious competition by the biting guitar work of John McLaughlin and the uncredited Sonny Sharrock.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
None of Miles Davis' recordings has been more shrouded in mystery than Jack Johnson, yet none has better fulfilled Miles Davis' promise that he could form the "greatest rock band you ever heard." Containing only two tracks, the album was assembled out of no less than four recording sessions between February 18, 1970, and June 4, 1970, and was patched together by producer Teo Macero. Most of the outtake material ended up on Directions, Big Fun, and elsewhere. The first misconception is the lineup: the credits on the recording are incomplete. For the opener, "Right Off," the band is Miles, John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, Michael Henderson, and Steve Grossman (no piano player!), which reflects the liner notes. This was from the musicians' point of view, in a single take, recorded as McLaughlin began riffing in the studio while waiting for Miles; it was picked up on by Henderson and Cobham, Hancock was ushered in to jump on a Hammond organ (he was passing through the building), and Miles rushed in at 2:19 and proceeded to play one of the longest, funkiest, knottiest, and most complex solos of his career. Seldom has he cut loose like that and played in the high register with such a full sound. In the meantime, the interplay between Cobham, McLaughlin, and Henderson is out of the box, McLaughlin playing long, angular chords centering around E. This was funky, dirty rock & roll jazz. There is this groove that gets nastier and nastier as the track carries on, and never quits, though there are insertions by Macero of two Miles takes on Sly Stone tunes and an ambient textured section before the band comes back with the groove, fires it up again, and carries it out. On "Yesternow," the case is far more complex. There are two lineups, the one mentioned above, and one that begins at about 12:55. The second lineup was Miles, McLaughlin, Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Bennie Maupin, Dave Holland, and Sonny Sharrock. The first 12 minutes of the tune revolve around a single bass riff lifted from James Brown's "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." The material that eases the first half of the tune into the second is taken from "Shhh/Peaceful," from In a Silent Way, overdubbed with the same trumpet solo that is in the ambient section of "Right Off." It gets more complex as the original lineup is dubbed back in with a section from Miles' tune "Willie Nelson," another part of the ambient section of "Right Off," and an orchestral bit of "The Man Nobody Saw" at 23:52, before the voice of Jack Johnson (by actor Brock Peters) takes the piece out. The highly textured, nearly pastoral ambience at the end of the album is a fitting coda to the chilling, overall high-energy rockist stance of the album. Jack Johnson is the purest electric jazz record ever made because of the feeling of spontaneity and freedom it evokes in the listener, for the stellar and inspiring solos by McLaughlin and Davis that blur all edges between the two musics, and for the tireless perfection of the studio assemblage by Miles and producer Macero. [The album was completely remastered and reissued in January of 2005, following the 2003 release of the Complete Jack Johnson Sessions box set by Legacy.]

Product Details

Release Date:
01/24/2005
Label:
Columbia Europe
UPC:
5099751926429
catalogNumber:
5192642
Rank:
28473

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Miles Davis   Primary Artist,Trumpet
Herbie Hancock   Organ,Keyboards
John McLaughlin   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Sonny Sharrock   Guitar
Steve Grossman   Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Brock Peters   Spoken Word
Billy Cobham   Drums
Michael Henderson   Guitar,Bass Guitar
Michael J. Henderson   Electric Bass

Technical Credits

Bob Belden   Reissue Producer
Miles Davis   Liner Notes
John McLaughlin   Liner Notes
Michael Cuscuna   Reissue Producer
Teo Macero   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Bill Milkowski   Liner Notes
Chip Deffaa   Liner Notes
Randall Martin   Reissue Design
Dianne Spoto Shattuck   Packaging Manager
Paul Davis   Illustrations
Stanley Tonkel   Engineer

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A Tribute to Jack Johnson 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Why this classic CD has been out of print for a while baffles me. This is the realization of what Miles Davis tried to do during the 70s. More than an other of his albums I own, THIS is true jazz-rock fusion. Miles and John McLaughlin are both on fire. Some of the music is ferocious and then there are quieter, spacey passages. Davis identified with Jack Johnson and his outsider status and was inspired to create a true classic. If you only plan to own one Davis fusion CD, this is the one.