30 Years ago, Miles Davis made waves in the music world when he left Columbia Records to sign recording and publishing contracts with Warner Bros. and Warner Chappell in 1985. With a new label to call home, Davis immediately started working on the album, which originally had the working title, Perfect Way, named after a song by new wave pop band Scritti Politti that he was covering on the album. The album was later renamed Tutu by producer Tommy LiPuma, taken from news headlines of the day referencing the well-known South African archbishop and anti-apartheid leader, Desmond Tutu.
Rhino celebrates one of jazz music's most revered and innovative talents with a 2-LP deluxe edition set on 180-gram vinyl of Miles Davis' TUTU, released to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of Davis signing with Warner. The deluxe edition includes a remastered LP of the original album and a bonus LP of live performances at the Nice Festival held in 1986, packaged with the original artwork featuring photographs by the legendary Irving Penn. The TUTU DELUXE EDITION will be available on May 25.
TUTU pushed Davis back into center stage, winning him two Grammy® awards, when even the most reverent seemed to admit that his best music lay in the past. Tutu stands as an important part of the Davis legacy, and a testament to a prolific artist whose boundless creativity continuously redefined a genre throughout his legendary career.
As Davis recalled, Tutu ''started with some music that George Duke, the piano player sent to me.'' Davis' affection for the initial track - eventually titled ''Backyard Ritual'' and filled with synthesizer sounds and electronic beats - revealed the trumpeter's willingness to consider music written by others, and the use of cutting-edge electronics.
Producer Tommy LiPuma recruited composer and studio musician Marcus Miller to collaborate on the project, who at 27, had already made a name for himself in jazz, R&B and popular music, playing funk, rock, bebop and hip hop. Davis later praised him as being ''so hip and into the music that he even walks in tempo . . . in the studio we make a great team.''
''Technology was kind of exploding and I thought it would be interesting to hear Davis making his way through this new world,'' said Miller. Performing on the album were George Duke, Adam Holzman and Bernard Wright, percussionists Paulinho Da Costa and Steve Reid, drummer Omar Hakim and violinist Michael Urbaniak all contributed tracks; keyboardist Jason Miles played a significant role as well, programming the synthesizers and helping push the tracks to a level of sonic detail that could compete with contemporary recordings.
Tutu would feature a variety of tunes that offered a mix of flavors and mood. Besides the title track, four were composed by Miller - ''Splatch,'' ''Portia,'' ''Don't Lose Your Mind'' and ''Full Nelson'' (the last a tribute to another South African leader, Nelson Mandela). ''Tomaas'' - named by Davis for LiPuma - was co-written by Davis and Miller, based on ideas Davis had previously recorded. The selections were rounded out by one cover - ''Perfect Way,'' which Davis had initially chosen to be the album's title track.
By that summer, Davis' group was touring Europe. With a four-night run approaching at the Grande Parade du Jazz festival in Nice, France, the decision was made to record the group at its prime. It was a wise choice. Warner Bros. hired a mobile recording truck and all four concerts were taped. ''Everybody in the band knew we were being recorded so we were on our game,'' remembers his nephew, drummer Vince Wilburn. ''Miles had an uncanny knack for knowing not only what to record but when and where. Every night was more beautiful than the one before: wonderful weather, captive audiences and the band was on fire.''
''At the time, there wasn't anything that jumped out at me,'' LiPuma admits. ''Believe me, if I thought there had been, I would've put an album out. But having spent some time with the music, it's brilliant - and I think it's an important recording.'' Like the best live recordings, these tracks are both historic and timeless - filled with a spirit and snap that can still be felt today, yet cannot be repeated.
This deluxe double LP edition includes:
The remastered original album on 180-gram vinyl
An extra 180-gram vinyl disc of live performances by the Miles Davis Octet of the Nice Jazz Festival of 1986, available for the first time on vinyl.
The packaging is a replica of the original vinyl album, including stickers, LP labels, Irving Penn's beautiful and iconic photographs
DISC A: ORIGINAL ALBUM
1. Backyard Ritual
2. Perfect Way
3. Don't Lose Your Mind
4. Full Nelson
DISC B: LIVE AT NICE FEST 1986
2. Human Nature
2. New Blues
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