Electric Miles
Label: MAMA Records

Coinciding with the 50 year anniversary of Miles Davis’ 1969 album Bitches Brew, saxophonist, flutist and arranger Charles Pillow celebrates the music of the jazz legend within the 1969-72 period. With the support of his 17-piece ensemble, Pillow draws attention to the music that featured jazz stalwarts such as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Lenny White, Jack DeJohnette, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Dave Liebman and Dave Holland. Electric Miles centers around compositions from Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson, and In a Silent Way - all skillfully arranged for big band.


The sound of Bitches Brew - the bass clarinet and multiple keyboards - was unheard of at the time. Almost every aspect of this 1969 release was new; the loose, yet guide-post like structures in the music, the post production techniques that Teo Macero used putting it together, the fact that it was a double album, even the liner notes, all pointed to a new direction in jazz.

Commemorating this seminal recording, the Charles Pillow Large Ensemble is joined by special guest saxophonist and Miles Davis alum Dave Liebman on “Black Satin” and “Yesternow”. Trumpeters Tim Hagans and Clay Jenkins are featured as the Miles voice alongside Michael Davis on trombone and Pillow on both alto saxophone and alto flute. Powered by the rhythm section of drummer Jared Schonig and bassist Chuck Bergeron, the band is an array of seasoned pros peppered with younger up and coming musicians. Filling out this ensemble is Colin Gordon (alto sax, soprano sax, flute), Luke Norris (tenor sax, clarinet), CJ Ziarniak (tenor sax), Karl Stabnau (bass clarinet), Abe Nouri (trombone), Jack Courtright (trombone), Gabe Ramos (bass trombone), Tony Kadleck (lead trumpet), Charlie Carr (trumpet), Julian Garvue (electric piano), and Mike Forfia (acoustic bass on “Sanctuary” and “In a Silent Way”).

Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Pillow studied at Loyola University before pursuing his Masters Degree in Jazz Studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, NY. Since moving to NYC in 1987, he has appeared on over 100 recordings with both jazz and pop luminaries such as Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, Jay Z, Luther Vandross, Paul Simon, Michael Brecker, Bruce Springsteen, John Scofield, Tom Harrell, Dave Liebman, David Sanborn, to name a few. In addition to an active performing and recording schedule, he is an Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Eastman school of Music.

 

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MARK CORROTO
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"The music Pillow presents is a ripened, lets say matured version of Davis' sound...This recording makes you wonder what Pillow could do with Thelonious Monk's orchestral performance At Town Hall (Riverside, 1959)." Read the full 4-star review here.

PHIL FREEMAN
STEREOGUM
"I can’t quite figure out what I think about this album, but it’s a fascinating idea." Read the full review here.

SCOTT YANOW
JAZZ ARTISTRY NOW
"Electric Miles succeeds at both paying tribute to Miles Davis’ early fusion records and finding a new and fresh way to interpret the material" Read the full 4.5 star review here.

FILIPE FREITAS
JAZZTRAIL
"Mr. Pillow shaped up Electric Miles with scrupulous arrangements containing fluttering horn lines and expressionistic individual solos. Everything flows with an electrifying poise." Read the full review here.

MIKE SHANLEY
JAZZTIMES
"...the soloists don't relax. Pillow himself adds fire to both of the aforementioned tracks ("Bitches Brew & Pharaoh's Dance")" Read the full review here

DEE DEE MCNEIL
MUSICAL MEMOIRS
"It’s impressive to hear a large ensemble and a gifted arranger tackle fusion and modern jazz with a big band sensibility and still keep the funk alive and powerful." Read the full review here.

D. OSCAR GROOMES
O'S PLACE JAZZ MAGAZINE
"The use of a large ensemble illustrates the music from a different angle." Read the full review here.

ROB TURNER
THE WIRE
"Pillow has managed to inflate the music, rearranging it as a beefy slab of big band jazz." Read the full review here.

JACK BOWERS
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Fans of Davis—especially those who dug his music from the '70s onward—should find much to absorb and appreciate in Electric Miles." Read the full review here.

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