ESP marks the beginning of a revitalization for Miles Davis, as his second classic quintet – saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams – gels, establishing what would become their signature adventurous hard bop. Miles had been moving toward this direction in the two years preceding the release of ESP and he had recorded with everyone outside of Shorter prior to this record, but his addition galvanizes the group, pushing them toward music that was recognizably bop but as adventurous as jazz's avant-garde. Outwardly, this music doesn't take as many risks as Coltrane or Ornette Coleman's recordings of the mid-'60s, but by borrowing some of the same theories – a de-emphasis of composition in favor of sheer improvisation, elastic definitions of tonality – they created a unique sound that came to define the very sound of modern jazz. Certainly, many musicians have returned to this group for inspiration, but their recordings remain fresh, because they exist at this fine dividing line between standard bop and avant.
Harvey's fifth and final album for Arista - another win for the funk-soul-fusion MVP! Given that Harvey worked on some of the best fusion sessions of the 70s, it's more than safe to give him "most valuable player" award - because without his drums, many a record would have faltered! Here, though, Mason's much more in his all-out soul mode - singing, playing, and producing in a smooth blend of jazz and modern soul, still with some funky grit in the mix. It not only benefits greatly from his years as one of the great studio players, but even more so for his triple threat talent as a writer, producer and performer.
This isn’t just another oblique or chops based attempt at paying homage to the late, great bassist Jaco Pastorius. Here, Italian acoustic-electric bassist, arranger Maurizio Rolli and his A.M.P. Big Band (along with some special guests), inject heartfelt imagery into the Pastorius songbook. With this release, Rolli focuses on Pastorius' compositional strengths.