Miles Davis - Filles de Kilimanjaro LP
Miles Davis' Self-Proclaimed "Directions in Music" March Begins Here: Filles de Kilimanjaro Recognized as Jazz Legend's Prelude into Full-On Fusion
Miles Davis' move into full-on fusion starts here. Abandoning his bebop roots and chasing electric dreams, rock-based rhythms, and ostinato pulses, the icon gives life to new music forms on Filles de Kilimanjaro, a release prized for its historical significance and lasting beauty. Grounded and focused, the five compositions unfold like a unified suite.
Mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity's numbered-edition hybrid SACD of Filles de Kilimanjaro joins the ranks of other essential Davis sets given supreme sonic and packaging treatment by the reissue label. Loaded with revealing signatures, the record takes on even greater import when heard the way Davis and his mates discerned it in the studio. Backgrounds are squid-ink black, pianissimo lines shimmer, and the electric piano emerges with tube-amp warmth.
Indeed, the exotic sound, touch, and feel of the songs on Filles de Kilimanjaro are as crucial as the melodies. To that extent, listeners can now enjoy the expressive tonalities and lush colors in full-range glory. Voicings, harmonics, and pitches are rendered in exquisite detail. The manners in which the textures and phrases rotate what seems like a unified tonal center places you at the original recording sessions, executed in July and September 1968.
The final appearance of Davis' Second Great Quintet bears fruit on three of the record's cuts, including the title track and R&B-tinted "Frelon Brun." Sparked with restrained funk, driving grooves, and bluesy accents, Filles de Kilimanjaro maintains an instinctive flow and controlled fredom that permit Davis to oversee an innovative blending of alterations, improvisation, and cycles. Comprised of multiple sections, "Petits Machins" is a lesson in perfectly played melodic complexity, with chromatic riffs, dominant chords, syncopated progressions, and switching meters forming a singular mosaic.
Filles de Kilimanjaro also represents a jumping-off point for Davis' lineup. For the September sessions, Chick Corea replaced Herbie Hancock while Dave Holland relieved Ron Carter. The new additions speak a different albeit common language, fitting in with Davis' desire to draw from rock and weave funk into open-minded excursions filled with exoticism, soulfulness, and wonder.
More than 40 years ago, this record epitomized the future of jazz. Davis even announced such aspirations with the tagline "Directions in Music." With the jazz world still trying to wrap its collective mind around its genius, it still does.