The year was 1967. Hippies everywhere were becoming culturally relevant, peaking in the middle of the year with their so-called Summer Of Love. Miles Davis, being as productive as ever, wasted no time getting his second quintet together to record this album, which seemingly did not follow other trends of music at the time. Released early on in 1967, this album had more favourable reviews for Miles Davis, just as the world was doing the Hippie shake. Still, did Miles and company make a good release here? Let’s find out.
Orbits launches straight into it, with a horn intro and some rather odd sounding melodies. Soon enough, the group really gets going with double bass and upbeat percussion. Instantly, this is a winner musically. The sounds and playing are fresh, different and dynamic for Jazz. Miles Davis’s trumpet, in particular, is extremely well played by him, he does sound amazing here on this tune. This is a great piece of music, proving that one needn’t sell themselves out to the Hippie movement of the time to succeed musically. Soon enough, some saxophone enters after Miles’s trumpet part, which sounds incredibly wonderful. A great listen, and another classic piece by Miles Davis that has lasted the test of time. The music present is hugely energetic. A piano solo follows, which is upbeat and Jazzy. A great, great listen without question. This does sound incredibly awesome and good to hear from start to finish, and the band play with furious intensity. Nonetheless, a classic four-and-a-half-minute tune by Miles Davis and his quintet. The tune ends with some surprises musically, and wraps up very well indeed, with a bunch of drumrolls, followed by some double bass notes. Excellent.
Circle begins with some quick piano flourishes, followed by some muted trumpet playing by Miles Davis. These two main elements of the music take turns here to interact with each other and sound so cool and clever that it makes you want to ditch your old Rock records. A unique piece of monumental Jazz, Miles Davis knew how to make Jazz music very well indeed. A great piece of music for many to listen to. This eventually launches into some smooth saxophone playing that sounds excellent. In a way, there is a subconscious battle between the trumpet playing and saxophone playing here. There is also some delicious sounding piano and percussion as well. The piano takes the lead in the left channel towards the middle of the tune, sounding fantastic indeed. The double bass plays along nicely with it, sounding marvellous and excellent as well. This section is relaxing, intricate and glorious to hear. There is some inter-musical rivalry between the instruments here, which only adds to the music at hand. A brilliant and totally listenable piece of music, this should be heard by more people out there. Soon enough, this reaches the final section of music with the trumpet playing the main melodies very nicely indeed. This eventually wraps up to conclude very nicely and gently and is a great listen from start to finish. Brilliant.
Footprints is the longest piece on the album at just under 10 minutes in length. It begins with some excellent double bass playing, some hi-hat heavy drumming and a great sense of excitement here. Soon enough, the trumpet and saxophone enter to make way for some gorgeous melodies. This sounds incredibly good and is very well played and lively here. It sounds energetic, interesting and suspenseful, just a real winner of a tune. A glorious piece, the trumpet eventually solos above everything else and sounds great and grand. An excellent and tuneful piece of Jazz with some great melodies, this is one of the more memorable Miles Davis pieces in his back catalogue. Soon enough, it changes tempo and feel at the drop of a hat, with the rhythm section pounding away over a glorious trumpet solo. This is amazing and brilliant and was likely a live performance, as well, given the technology of the time. This flows very well, Miles Davis plays a mean trumpet here. Jazz music may not appeal to many, but this is a great example of underrated Jazz music from earlier on in human history. Right near the middle, the saxophone launches straight into the mix and sounds indescribably awesome. The drumming has a stop/start sort of playing here, which is unusual as well. A great Jazz album, without doubt, or question, this is ridiculously good to hear. An awesome and inspiring listen, this is great Jazz to groove along to, no matter what you are doing whilst listening to this music. In the second half of the tune is a great piano solo that sounds nicely played and choppy, fitting perfectly over the rest of the music naturally. The drumming is still very stop/start here in its intentions, sounding very brilliant indeed. The trumpet and saxophone eventually return towards the end of this wonderful tune, and this piece does not disappoint. Jazz music is like nicely aged fine wine, an acquired taste. As we approach the ending, there is a drum solo with some double bass playing in the background, before the horns return. Nonetheless, a decent and great tune to listen to. It ends with the percussion and other elements finishing up very quietly. Great job.
Dolores is a much shorter listen. It begins with saxophone and hi-hat laden percussion, along with double bass plucking. The latter is quite prominent here, even after the trumpet joins in. The music here is ridiculously good and impressive and sounds quite revolutionary in its own way. Miles Davis eventually soars ahead with his trumpet playing and proves easily why he was the single most important Jazz musician ever with his dynamic and interesting playing throughout. This piece does gradually increase in intensity and volume throughout. Saxophone quickly enters to rival Miles’s incredible trumpet playing and is as equally incredible here. The rhythm section is impressive as well, sounding fast, powerful and energetic throughout. In fact, the whole group deserve a lot of praise here musically for this gorgeous and wonderful playing. A piano solo then enters by surprise, which sounds dramatic and impressive. A great piano solo that showcases the legends within Miles Davis’s second quintet, this does sound very amazing, to this very day. A great piece of music throughout, this is awesome to hear. The piano solo gives way to a dual horn solo part, which has some very loud drumming as well. The double bass playing is really great as well, sounding like nothing else out there. Brilliant effort, this wraps up with some intricate and powerful drum rolls. Excellent.
Freedom Jazz Dance (Evolution Of The Groove) begins with some impressive and choppy drumming, followed quickly by trumpet and saxophone to match. Soon enough, this tune gets right into the action. The trumpet and saxophone battle it out very nicely on this tune, and eventually, this launches into a more steady and less freeform piece of music. A really awesome and listenable piece of music and musicality, Miles Davis’s trumpet sounds really top-notch here. The music is intriguingly interesting, and there is never a dull moment here. A very enjoyable piece of music, the group plays with a soloing tag team sort of approach. Towards the middle is an excellent saxophone solo that does justice to this beautiful and timeless music. There is a piano subdued underneath it all, which adds a bit of flavour to the music here. A great and awesome listen for Jazz music, Miles Davis and his quintet have it nailed here. A pleasant, interesting and joyful listening experience, this is pure artistry in a Jazz context. In the second half, the drumming gets loud and more intense, whilst the saxophone and trumpet give way to a pleasant piano solo, yet again. Nonetheless, this is fantastic and never boring. Hearing this is time well spent, and is a grand and delicious serving of Jazz. Really cool music to hear, the piano solo goes on for some time, with the double bass underpinning it. Eventually, the horns return and this piece comes to a gradual conclusion. A great listen indeed. Worth your time for sure. It ends with some intricate drumming and double bass to finish.
Gingerbread Boy is the last piece of music on this very enjoyable album. It begins with frenetic horns, fast-paced drums and nimble double bass plucking. This is more dramatic and noticeably more melodic than what came before it, just sounding really cool and different as a result. This is a really fine and decent piece of musicianship that really, deserves a lot more credit than what it gets. Miles Davis and his quintet play superbly with zero mistakes and with an understanding of real musicianship here and taking turns to do their thing. There is much expressive trumpet in the first part of this tune, and it does kick the proverbial. A really awesome, stunning and mindblowing listening experience, this eventually has a great saxophone solo that attempts to overtake the pounding drums in terms of overall volume. A great and enjoyable piece of music that should be great to hear in one’s bedroom, lying on the bed with eyes closed listening to it. In the middle, the saxophone and drumming play nicely along with some extra double bass plucking. The drumming in particular is noticeable here. The second half of this tune has a really great piano solo that does wonders for the listener, it just sounds swell. Miles Davis had an incredible gift musically, and this piece sounds diverse, precise and wonderful musically. A really great listening experience, this sounds awesome throughout. Likely one of the most underrated Jazz albums out there to this very day from listening. Towards the end are some awesome drums, trumpet, saxophone and other great sounds to wrap this up very nicely. The drumming in particular is worth hearing. A fine tune to listen to, this end with some random self-chatter by one of the members of the quintet. It finishes the album here.
This album is extremely underrated, like most of Miles Davis’s back catalogue. It proves that Jazz can reach many people across the world and break barriers as a result in musical terms. A tremendously wonderful album to hear and enjoy to this very day, and is suitable for most occasions. Should you listen to this? Definitely, give it a try if you enjoy Jazz music.
Fresh, unique and excellent.