Miles Davis

This Is Jazz, Vol. 38: Electric

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While it's all and well to have a separate electric music sampler for Miles Davis, this one just won't do. It opens accurately with his very first electric date, featuring Herbie Hancock on Wurlitzer electric piano on "Water in the Pond," and follows the early trail a bit further. But then the CD skips blithely over the three most important electric albums of all, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and Jack Johnson -- which is kind of like writing a pocket history of 20th century Russia and omitting the 1917 Revolution. We land in the '70s with two unrepresentative tracks from Live-Evil and Get Up with It, a live take of "Spanish Key/The Theme" from the Fillmore West, and nothing from the 1972-75 "jungle" band. Davis' "unretirement" in the '80s is dispatched with "Aida," the catchy "U 'n' I," and the essence of his act at the time, "Human Nature." Even the scrambled electric LP from The Columbia Years box sums up this era better than this single CD, which though chronologically sequenced, is riddled with too many crucial gaps to be recommended.

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