Review Summary: Sharin' in the groove
Although it might seem like a stretch to call any of Master Miles's discography "underrated," the string of albums featuring this particular quintet are often overlooked due to the soaring heights of his late 50's material and the raw and experimental electric era. Listening to an album like Sorcerer
and knowing that most "listeners" cast it aside in favor of the more "mainstream" selections proves what Miles knew all along - while I am hesitant to bring matters of race into a review, one must wonder if the white man can truly listen
. Many have the wrong motivations for listening to music, and Miles observed this in regards to certain so-called fans and their attachment to Kind of Blue
. It must have been frustrating for an artist as pure as Miles to invest every inch of himself into his work and still be largely recognized for merely two albums by the public at large.
Why must we forsake the groove time and time again? Are we scared of getting loose? A decade before George Clinton "flashed light" on these questions, Miles was bopping without a care in the world. Take me or leave me was always the man's message. The titan ensemble featured on Sorcerer
is driven primarily by Herbie Hancock's gorgeous piano and Tony Williams's pulsating, busy drumming, his intense grooves on tracks like "Masqalero" and the title piece laying the foundation for what would come to be known as fusion drumming just a few short years later. While not as street-savvy as the proceeding albums featuring this quintet, Sorcerer
still features that New York groove that evokes black guys walking around wearing crazy business suits, doing shady deals, grooving in the streets. "Swag" takes on a new meaning when one discovers this titan ensemble. Miles, for lack of a better word, totally shreds. He plays with the confidence of a man who farted and knows he got away with it. Miles is the type of guy to fart and convince the room that you
were the one who did it. These types of mind games might seem like abuse, but they were necessary to push his musicians to the brink. Mark E. Smith of The Fall and Frank Zappa both learned much from his methods, as did Jeff Waters from Annihilator.
The only track on here that is a downer is the lounge jazz parody that closes the record, "Nothing Like You." This silly ditty is a response to the critics who wanted Miles to stay right in his little 1961 box. The critics simply couldn't keep up with him, so he drops a turd in their ears like a jester who just ate a box of laxatives. The rest of the album is purely for your listening pleasure, should you be so inclined. Open wide.