Final all-acoustic outing from Davis' classic second quintet
Numbered, limited edition Hybrid SACD
Confident 1967 effort steeped in inquisitive interplay and subconscious impressionism
Nefertiti will always be known as the final all-acoustic record made by Miles Davis' classic second quintet. A thematic bookend to the preceding Sorcerer, the 1967 set shares much in common with its equally nuanced predecessor yet deviates by way of its focus on rhythm and exploratory soundscapes. The low-key music blooms with colorful bouquets of shadings, gradations, and overtones that on Mobile Fidelity's Hybrid SACD bring listeners to closer to the creative passions than ever before.
As he does on Sorcerer, Davis again cedes all compositional duties to his all-star band mates and focuses on his trumpet. Familiar albeit slightly dissonant, rooted in hard bop yet signaling the onset of fusion, the songs are grounded in inquisitive interplay and subconscious impressionism. Nefertiti reveals fresh devices and new directions every time you visit its cerebral worlds.
Throughout, the players' confidence, and Davis' trust in them, stamps every piece with rare self-assurance and authoritativeness. In particular, Williams and Carter bring rhythms to the forefront as the horns hypnotize and Herbie Hancock's piano points in several different directions like a compass gone crazy. Responsible for "Madness" and "Riot," Hancock contributes brief bursts of speed and slight aggression, but on a record on which complexity and introspection take precedent over blowing hot, the aural steam ultimately becomes opportunity for burrowing into unpredictable turns and deep grooves.
Indeed, the thrilling sense of interplay and inclination of the ensemble to keep searching, moving forward in a concerted manner to uncover then-unheard jazz discoveries, marks Nefertiti as one of Davis' quintessential efforts. For historians, it's the signpost to the pioneering fusion the leader would begin to pursue with greater commitment on the record's follow-up, Miles in the Sky. For the rest of us, the album is music and music-making at its intriguing best.
3. Hand Jive