Scott Yanow, Jazziz
On Electric Miles (MAMA), alto saxophonist Charles Pillow celebrates the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew by offering new arrangements of some of the trumpeter’s works from 1969-72. But instead of performing such numbers as “Pharaoh’s Dance”, “Sanctuary” and “Spanish Key” with an electronic fusion ensemble, Pillow transformed the compositions into big -band charts, utilizing a 17-piece orchestra. Trumpeters Tim Hagans and Clay Jenkins are featured on different songs, hinting at Davis’ style while playing in their own. Pillow’s passionate solos may make one think of Gary Bartz in spots, and there are also statements from trombonist Michael Davis and tenor saxophonist Luke Norris. Dave Liebman, who played with Davis from 1972-73, crafts stirring soprano solos on “Yesternow” and “Black Satin” (he was on the original version of the latter). The transformation of Davis’ early fusion casts a new light on the often-overlooked material.