Half Notes: Miles Davis – Doo Bop (1991)

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Confession time: I still have a place in my heart for Miles Davis‘ oft-reviled last album Doo-Bop. Sure, taken as a hip hop album, it didn’t set any new standards. But taken as a jazz album looking to the future, it held lasting importance as the precursor to hybrid albums by Guru and Us3, hits that included (for the first time) actual jazz loops. For your average Davis fan, Doo Bop is a side trip — and a bumpy one at that. The kind of thing usually discussed by those darned completists, if at all. Well, count me as one of the above.

The minuses are these: Not only did Miles pass before he could fully explore the idea, then disassemble it again (as he had before with rock music), he passed before he even finished the project. And that rapper is subpar. The pluses, and maybe this is more about the idea of the record than the record itself, are these: There are some flashes of nascent brilliance, even in a half-finished project, something that points to another in the long line of revolutionary countermoves that made his career so brilliant.

Miles showed that, even nearing the end of his creative cycle, he still had the nerve to risk failure.

Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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