Fricke's Picks: “Miles From India” - Rolling Stone
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Fricke’s Picks: “Miles From India”

Miles From India (Four Quarters/Times Square) is an exultant two-CD meeting of Eastern and Western musicians covering the India in Miles Davis — mostly the open-road drones and raga-funk collages on his 1969-75 electric records but also earlier, modal landmarks such as “So What” and “All Blues,” from 1959’s Kind of Blue. At New York’s Town Hall on May 9th, Miles From India producer Bob Belden re-created the album live, reconvening players from the sessions, including bassist Ron Carter guitarist Pete Cosey and tabla drummer Badal Roy, all Davis alumni. The interplay of piano, sax, sitar and Indian percussion in the acoustic set was less cohesive than it is on the album. But onstage, “Spanish Key” and “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” both from 1969’s Bitches Brew, were animated by ecstatic exchanges between East (Kala Ramnath on Carnatic violin) and West (Cosey, trumpeter Wallace Roney). Belden, a Davis authority, constructed Miles From India in much the same way Davis’ producer, Teo Macero, built Davis’ electric records from edits and multiple takes. Belden recorded the Indians in Mumbai; the jazzmen improvised over the tracks in New York. The effect: like worlds colliding and blurring in a single room.


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