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Miles Davis: Decoy

Album Notes

Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet, synthesizer); Bill Evans, Branford Marsalis (soprano saxophone); Robert Irving III (synthesizer, programming); John Scofield (guitar); Darryl "The Munch" Jones (bass); Al Foster (drums); Mino Cinelu (percussion).

Engineers: Ronald F. Lorman, Guy Charbonneau.

Recorded at A & R Studios and the Record Plant, New York, New York; live at Festival International De Jazz De Montreal, Montreal, Canada.

DECOY is a vivid example of Miles Davis' unerring ear for identifying, casting and nurturing talent. Among those helping out Miles flesh out this modern vision of electric jazz: John Scofield, who ranks among the most progressive of jazz guitarists and composers; reedman Branford Marsalis, who fronted the Tonight Show Band; Darryl Jones, who held down the bass chair for Sting and subbed for Bill Wyman in the Rolling Stones; and drummer Al Foster, who went on to work with Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson and Ron Carter.

DECOY marks a milestone in Miles' thinking since returning to the jazz wars, and the trumpeter's keyboard abstractions over Jones' Kraftwerk-like bass groove on "Freaky Deaky" offers clues as to the style of spontaneous orchestration and interplay he wanted. Co-producer/keyboardist Robert Irving's title track depicts an opulent canvas of inter-connected modes, all doing a wheeling dance around Jones' spacious, behind-the-beat bass pulse; "Robot 415" is an Afro-Techno miniature; and "Code M.D." offers slick big band synth flourishes and contrasting rhythmic accents over a swampy, post-modern brand of southern funk.

Throughout DECOY, Scofield's deft harmonic intuition and sure feel for boppish blues lines help set the plate for the trumpeter's stabbing upper register declamations and oblique melodies. And as a co-composer, Scofield helps distill Miles' `80s brew of ethnic shadings, funky polyrhythms, Gil Evans-styled keyboard colors...and the blues. Check out how his agitated counterpoint and skanky funk groove on "What It Is" inspire Miles to overdub a melange of trumpet commentaries, while "That's Right" showcases the band's elegant blues plumage. And the rousing "That's What Happened" suggests James Brown let loose in a particle collider, as a fragmented melody snakes its way through the carnage.


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