Miles Davis “Filles de Kilimanjaro” (1969)

Miles was cranking out about two studio works a year with this, his great 60′s quintet when “Filles De Kilimanjaro” was recorded, and he was about to embark on his groundbreaking “jazz/fusion” era of career. It’s a time of transition too with Miles adding electric piano, played here by Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea, and Dave Holland providing bass on two of the cuts in place of Ron Carter. On this album, Mile’s mood seems to be much lighter than displayed on “Neffertiti” the year before. The soundscapes seem to hold much more color, and there’s even an element of funk beginning to creep in. As with just about everything this group recorded, the playing is flawless. My favorites are “Tout De Suite”, and the beautifully rambling “Mademoiselle Mabry”. This is Miles in a state of transition with his music to be sure, although I doubt there was ever a time in his career that his music wasn’t in transition. That’s part of being a genius. Here he begins to explore acoustically for the most part, the territory that he would tear wide open with electric instruments in just a few years. That alone is enough to make this great album important, but the music alone more than speaks for itself. —Tim

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