Even with all the headway the ensemble made on its subsequent albums together, many jazz cognoscenti and Davis diehards strongly feel Miles Smiles remains the apex of their vast accomplishments. The piles of evidence lay within the thrills, adventurousness, and curiosities staked to every composition. At once accessible and unpredictable, songs reflect an ever-changing mentality, an edgy moodiness, and a triumphant will – with each corner the band rounds a new opportunity to integrate and interact, anticipate and respond, investigate open spaces and establish if not fully lock into contagious, broad, striding grooves.
For Davis – and the music world at large – the significance of Miles Smiles
cannot be overstated. "The synthesis of complete abstraction with more or less straightforward blues-playing was to sustain [Davis] right through the darkness of the 1970s bands to the later period," write experts Richard Cook and Brian Morton. To their point, everyone from DownBeat to Q to TIME have deemed "Footprints" as one of the greatest compositions of the latter 20th century.
Everywhere you turn, genius abounds. Right out of the starting gates, "Orbits" swirls with hard-driving rhythms and Davis' untethered soloing. "Delores" likewise steams and cooks, retaining a tuneful allure all the while speaking with a streetwise swagger. Anchored in part by Hancock's radiant piano lines, the ballad "Circle" moves gently and expresses a romantic elegance via its superb lyrical poise. On Miles Smiles
, the band simply has and does it all. This is a record you want to feel as much as hear.
- Freedom Jazz Dance
- Ginger Bread Boy