Miles Davis: "Inamorata"
from The Cellar Door Sessions (Columbia; 1970/2006)
By Mark Abraham | 26 January 2006
“Inamorata” was, as much as anything ever was, Davis’ rocker. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix, the tune teeters atop clomping drums and bass. On this recently unearthed set, unedited and divorced from the spoken narration that was overdubbed on the version released on Live Evil, the production and ferocious playing make “Inamorta” a revelation.
Michael Henderson’s bass cuts the devil’s throat to sink nicely to boom from the center of the low frequencies; between metronomic beats he hits the equivalent of sonic back flips and machine gun rounds, waging war on his fellow musicians. Jack DeJonette’s drumming seems to push from the side, decaying the rest of the music through attrition, while Airto Moreira’s percussion reacts and dodges his sprayed fills. Keith Jarette’s electric piano gobbles at the fringes; his constant shuffling of major and minor keys produces brief moments of epiphany. Over top Gary Bartz and Davis scream, sigh, and wail, their tones spread nicely over the higher range. The former skulks in the murk only to rise (via long, solemn notes) and spew saxophone sleaze with abandon; the latter squeezes wah trumpet through the cracks, demanding the rest of the band to swarm around him. The rhythm stays just as elastic when Davis and Bartz mass and massacre their troops with little warning.
This group conjoins the technical acumen of pre-1970 Davis and the full-out vibe of his later bands, and, on this one song, sums up and anticipates a pantheon of musical ideas to come. They hit the geek spots with equal ability and put paid to the idea that “genre” must limit the boundaries of music. But fuck that. Sure, it’s Miles, but to explain what I love about this track doesn’t require me to get all, “It’s Miles, it’s the seventies, everything Miles and the seventies did was awesome!” The real kicker: the other three performances of “Inamorata” on this 6-disc set are just as captivating, and each time the musicians attack the music with the same blazing intensity while covering wildly different territory. Until reanimation is possible, I’ll take this unearthing gladly, if only to let Miles run his voodoo down on our sorry asses once again.