Miles Davis



by SgtPepper STAFF
June 17th, 2012 | 11 replies

Release Date: 1967 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An exciting performance by an illustrious line-up of musicians.

Sorcerer is the third album composed by Miles' second great quintet. A line up that features some of Jazz's most illustrious musicians such as, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and drummer Tony Williams. The musical approaches in Sorcerer reflect some of the familiar characteristics that made this quintet so distinguishable. For example, their performances often exhibited an intense improvisational atmosphere and experimental tendencies that became known as "freebop", as they deviated from the orthodox "chord-change" style of Bebop for a modal technique. In Bebop, musicians use chords that repeat throughout the whole song, providing a background for the solo, which often consists of improvised notes over the repeated chord progression. Modal Jazz, as it has been defined, introduces a rhythmic flexibility that allows musicians to improvise under a more relaxed harmonic constraint.

Songs like "Prince Of Darkness" and "The Sorcerer", share a similar aesthetic in their orchestral structures. Both pieces open with a demonstration of the electrifying synergy between Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter, as the wind sections establish their dominance over the rest of the instruments, erupting with a release of spontaneous energy. We can really see these musicians feeding off each others' creativity, with Miles' trumpet playing countermelodies with Wayne's tenor saxophone, as well as producing other exhilarating rhythmic variations. Each piece is a different voyage, but as we descend further into the music, we find ourselves arriving to a similar destination. As we make our way to the climax, Herbie Hancock bombards us with a set of piano solos, each following their own pace and expressing different moods.

"Limbo" is yet another grandeur performance on this album, exhibiting an abstract musical landscape. The instrumentation follows a versatile structure, containing moments of both delicacy and aggression. Of course, each musician certainly gets their chance to display their musical dexterity in this particular piece, but Tony Williams' drumming truly stands out in "Limbo". His percussive rhythms are vigorous and dynamic, helping to add a sense of chaotic adrenaline to the music. There is definitely a high level of energy produced by most of the songs in Sorcerer, but the album also contains its moments of more relaxing tempos. The melancholic expressions of "Vonetta" is certainly one of the highlights of the album. The coalescence of the piano and wind sections provide a very smooth texture, one that alleviates the senses with a calming soundscape. In the end, Sorcerer proves to be an exciting album filled with some very mesmerizing musicianship. There's an exceptional amount of impromptu maneuvering going on in this album, and because of its modal influence, there's a vast array of rhythms and melodies that seem to fluctuate under their own agendas. But to really enjoy the genius of this performance, try not to concern yourself with the form of the music. It’s simply better to just lose yourself in the anarchical nature of it all, and simply take in all of the notes that radiates from the instrument of each musician. This is honestly a must have for fans of Miles Davis.

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user ratings (87)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Captain. And yeah, Miles is great. check out his "electric albums"- a prog fan like yourself would probably enjoy them.

Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, "electric" is just the nickname for his Jazz Fusion albums, which is basically everything from Miles In The Sky to practically everything he did in the 1970's.

I recommend: Agharta, Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson, Pangea, Black Beauty and In A Silent Way- good albums to start off.

June 17th 2012


Great 50th review, bud. Keep it up!

June 17th 2012


Hernan is a reviewing monster!

Would Bitches Brew be a good start for someone who hasn't heard anything by the man?

June 17th 2012


cool jazz, pos, bro!

June 17th 2012


nice review, i guess i gotta go pick this up now

Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0


Bitches Brew is a good album but it could be a bit enigmatic, especially for anyone who isnt familiar with Miles' atmospheric style of Jazz Fusion. Though you have a pretty open-minded taste in music so maybe you would like it right away.

Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0


Thanks, mate.

August 21st 2012


Hella good review, as always.

October 31st 2015


Album Rating: 5.0

I won't lie, I'm becoming a bit fanboy of Miles Second Great Quintet, the sounds these guys bring individually is outstanding, but together it's beautiful and pushing boundaries yet full of energy. I hear something new when I listen to these recordings.

Masualualero is currently my favorite of this album.

October 22nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

Herbie's playing on this is outstanding

Digging: Marilyn Manson - The Pale Emperor

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