RECORDS / Jazz: Miles Davis - Doo-bop (Warner Bros 7599-26938)

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The Independent Culture
From beyond the grave, the Prince of Darkness returns to haunt anyone who thought it was safe to curl up with Kind of Blue. This is Miles's hip- hop album, supervised by rap producer Easy Mo Bee, who began the task in collaboration with the trumpeter and completed it after his death. Who knows what Miles would have thought about the way his playing is placed over the samples, the bragging raps ('Let's kick a track for my man called Miles / Seems to me his music's gonna be around for a long while') and the synthetic drum tracks? As music for the modern age, this isn't nearly as pretty as the neon-bathed ambient music Marcus Miller devised for Tutu; but neither is it as harsh as most rap. And, to be blunt, these pieces provoke trumpet improvisations displaying a rhythmic banality that was never remotely discernible in Miles's pre-electric playing; he just wasn't an R&B musician. But he wanted to stay connected to the street, and, like the Michael Jackson covers, the Prince tapes and the guest appearance with Scritti Politti, this is a logical chapter to add to his extraordinary story. But if you're happy to stick with what he did between 1945 and 1969, don't touch it.

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