Miles Davis’ Rubberband – An Album That Better Should Have Stayed Unpublished

Thank you again for all your feedback

I get a lot of comments, both on the site itself and via direct message. And I truly appreciate every single element of feedback. It is what keeps me going now 5 years in a row.

Recently you told me you’d like more reviews of Jazz albums, and also encouraged me to write more critical reviews. I often tend to shy away from them, as my reviews clearly are very subjective opinions, and I really don’t like to critisize great musicians just because I don’t like some of their albums.

That said, the next musician won’t mind, a) he’s passed away a long time ago, and b) he’s one of the most brilliant musicians ever and nothing I’ll write here will take anything away from this

Miles Davis – Rubberband (Warner 2019)

This is a negative review that is more of a warning. Stay away from this zombie at all cost.

In the 1980s, Miles Davis had finally left his long term label Columbia to sign up with Warner. He then started recording some tracks. For several reasons, these tracks were never fully finished, and ended up in a drawer somewhere.

Now, somebody decided, let’s take these tracks, complete what Miles didn’t complete, and let’s see if we can still milk the Miles Davis brand.

First of all, people think of Miles Davis as a Jazz musician. Let’s be clear, in the 1980s had moved on, to a style much more influenced by funk and pop. Nothing wrong with this, it’s not really my cup of tea, but Tutu an album that was recorded shortly after this, is a modern classic. It will never get a lot of playtime on my system, but I understand why some people like it.

Rubberband really never should have been published in my opinion. Without Davis’ trademark horn popping up every once in a while, it would have just been a very bland synthetic late funk / 80s pop album. So if you’re interested in 1980s funk jazz, get Tutu (or some Herbie Hancock stuff from that era). But really avoid this “album” at all cost.

My rating: 1 star (this is now officially my first 1 star review in 5 years and more than 300 posts)

If you still want to check it out, you can find it here (Qobuz)

Bill Evans – You Must Believe In Spring

Bill Evans

I haven’t written any single post on Bill Evans yet (well with the exception of this not very serious one, and my 25 Essential Jazz albums).

Shame on me. Given how much I love this pianist, and the form of the Jazz Piano Trio that he essentially created (or at least brought it to a whole new level), this is a sin.

To be rectified right now.

Bill’s Three Trios

Bill Evans essentially had three trios over time. He started with the mythic combination of  Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian in the 1950s and early 60s, until Scott died tragically in a car accident. If you don’t have Live At The Village Vanguard or Waltz for Debbie, you have missed some outstanding recordings.

For many Bill Evans purists, there is no true Bill Evans after LaFaro’s death. Some may concede that his last trio with Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera did some outstanding recordings (and I’d agree, hence them being listed in my above mentioned 25 essential Jazz albums with Consecration.

However, the trio that Evans ended up playing the longest time, with Eddie Gomez and several different drummers, doesn’t get the same level of awareness.

Which is a pity as there are some true gems, and Gomez has a very particular sound to his bass, which suits Evans really well.

You Must Believe In Spring (Rhino/Warner 1977/1981)

Bill Evans You Must Believe In Spring Rhino Warner 1977

This is the last album that Evans played with Gomez before he left the trio. On drums we feature Eliot Zigmund.

Why do I love this album so much? Well, as mentioned above, Gomez has a really nice sound, and this being a decent studio recording it really comes across very well.

Furthermore there is the title song You Must Believe In Spring, written by the great Michel Legrand for the musical movie Les Demoiselles de Rochefort by the French Director Jacques Demy.

It is taken from one of the most cheesy scenes of the entire movie, the young sailor singing about his troubles trying to find his dream girl, also known as La Chanson de Maxence:

 

For comparison, here’s Bill Evans version:

 

For context, I usually hate musicals, and any kind of movie where people all over sudden start singing (sorry, Bollywood), but somehow this movie is different. Probably this is due to the fact that I saw it during my student days in an old Roman theatre in the middle of summer in an open air cinema with good friends.

The entire atmosphere was so nice that I cannot help myself but having positive memories with this movie, and therefore having a Jazz version of this song helps (Note that I had the album before I even saw the movie, and somehow my subconscious recognized the melody when I saw the film for the first time).

The rest of the album is nice mixture of late Bill Evans standards like the famous Theme From M.A.S.H but also some lesser know compositions. All are very enjoyable.

My rating: 4 stars

You can find it here (Qobuz)