Truly the Quincy Jones of contemporary jazz, Grammy winning composer and keyboardist Jason Miles has always been a master at gathering high-profile artists and musicians and cleverly redefining the past. His discography boasts all-star tribute albums to Ivan Lins, Grover Washington, Jr. and Weather Report, along with recent solo projects that tackle Marvin Gaye and America's unique heritage of soul music (Soul Summit). With Global Noize, his fascinating, boundary-busting dual project with scratchmeister and turntable guru DJ Logic, Miles is firmly securing the vibrant future of modern jazz, creating a vibe that's a freewheeling swirl of jazz, funk, electronica, world fusion, and blues that's grounded at times, trippy and sensual most of the time, and -- on the wings of the ethereal vocals of Falu -- truly transcendent and spiritual. Global Noize is the 2000s equivalent to the way Weather Report and Return to Forever drove the spirit of jazz fusion in the '70s. The clear Weather Report inspiration is a good reference point, as the hypnotically percussive and sensual, sometimes otherworldly opener "A Jam 4 Joe" is dedicated to Joe Zawinal. As DJ Logic scratches in the background, Falu emotes dreamily, MeShell Ndegéocello bubbles on bass, Vernon Reid (Living Colour) sizzles on guitar and Karl Denson's horns burn on through. That's just the warmup for the globetrotting to follow. First stop, the bubbling "Spice Island," where Bernie Worrell holds court on clavinet and organ as Miles creates cool vibes harmony lines behind him. Ever wonder what happened to Blues Traveler? They're still around and John Popper pops his insanely witty and soulful harmonica melody over some jungly retro-soul beats and atmospheres that will put you in a bluesy state of hypnosis. Some hot club dancing comes next as the hypnotizing gets groovier on "Quera Dancar," pumped along by the super sexy whispery vocals of Vanessa Fallabella. Miles and DJ Logic's guest list also includes trumpet greats from two generations, Herb Alpert and Christian Scott. Keeping things bright but moody where it counts, Alpert's not in Tijuana anymore, but in "Dar'abesque," named after a villa Miles and DJ Logic inhabited during a life changing trip to Marrakech. On "Spin Cycle," Scott adds bright and increasingly intense improvisational energy to a realm fused with energetic percussion, crisp scratches, and wild runs by Miles mood mixing synth sounds. The young trumpet master shows darker tones on the worldbeat jazz chillout tune "Exotic Secrets," which features Suphala on tabla. These descriptions only capture pieces of the soul stirring texturing that happens throughout this extraordinary disc. Jason Miles has lived well in jazz and R&B's storied past, and it's exciting to see him putting the same creativity into his embrace of a vibe that bodes well for jazz's future.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran