By Devon Wendell
I can’t believe I missed out on Kind Of New by Jason Miles and Ingrid Jensen when it was released this past spring. It’s been a busy few months but after finally “discovering” this album recently, I thought it certainly merited a write up.
Kind Of New is far from being just another run of the mill, fusion-steeped Miles Davis tribute album.
Keyboardist and producer Jason Miles is a humble visionary who has always followed his own path since his debut release Cozmopolitan in 1979, featuring Marcus Miller, Michael Brecker, and Badal Roy. Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen too has proven to be one who chooses the road less traveled yet most rewarding.
The chemistry and energy created between Miles and Jensen on this album is relentless. Their musical choices are unique on this stellar recording which also features an all-star lineup of some of the most seasoned studio musicians in the business such as: bassists James Genus, Adam Dorn, Amanda Ruzza and Jerry Brooks, bass, Jay Rodriguez, bass clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophones, Jeff Coffin, soprano, baritone and tenor saxophones, Nir Felder, guitar, Mike Clark, Brian Dunne, Steve Wolf, Gene Lake and Jon Wikan on drums, and Cyro Babtista on drums and percussion.
The album consists of 11 originals and a sublime version of Miles Davis’ “Sanctuary” (by Wayne Shorter).
Among the originals, “Ferrari (by Michael Brecker) “Faction Of Cool,” “Super City,” “Shirley,” “Film Noir Interlude,” “Ferrari” and “Seeing Through The Rain” are reminiscent of Miles Davis’ post Bitches Brew electric sound, but only slightly.
Jason Miles’ Fender Rhodes keyboard improvisations are stunningly original and unpredictable. His sense of texture and harmony help create a truly distinct mood within each carefully crafted piece.
Jensen’s trumpet lines go from sweet and tender to stark and menacing. The way these two masters play off of each other is the something special that so many musicians of all genres wish to achieve in a collaborative work.
“Street Vibe” (by Tom Harrell and Jason Miles) is swinging and funky with more of an ‘80s Miles Davis vibe to it.. Miles’ Hammond B3 comping cooks beyond belief and Jensen’s trumpet lines are dynamic and thoughtful.
Despite the slick and lavish production of this album, there’s a sense of freedom and stretching out that surely would have pleased Miles Davis.
As you get further into Kind Of New, you feel that you’re not only getting to know an intimately soulful side of Miles’ and Jensen, but you also get straight to the heart of Miles Davis. Not in some cliché, copy-cat fashion, but in what Davis wanted most from musicians, which was to stretch beyond one’s comfort zone to create something fresh.
This album will long be remembered as one of the most impressive and masterful Miles Davis tributes recorded by two outstanding artists.
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