Directions is a double record anthology of previously unreleased Davis material from 1960-70, and it's neatly divided between the coaly lyrical post-bop styles and the period when the trumpeter led his musicians into the wilds of polyrhythmic jazz-rock. For my part, I prefer the latter of the two styles on the first two sides, highlighting Davis' sharp, pointillistic brassiness and several l swinging performances from Wayne Shorter, Hank Mobley, Ron Carter, and others. The fusion material tends to drift too far afield, lost as it is around funk riffs that are annoyingly stationary while improvisations, by Davis. John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, and Steve Goodman lack anything to say save for arbitrary utterances. One jam, "Willie Nelson," however. transcend the hit-and-miss method of the style that has bassist Dave Holland elevating a simple figure into something truly propulsive that in turn inspires McLaughlin to give his best guitar work-out on the four-record set. Still, the fusion sessions are stiff and unmotivated, and one wonders whether Davis himself would have allowed these tracks to see light. Sides one and two, though, are quite fine, and well worth the price of the package.
|Intensities in Ten Cities --Ted Nugent
There was a time when I was naive enough to consider Ted Nugent a rock guitarist of singular style who would someday drop the ersatz meat-eater stance and make music well the equal of his instrumental skill. Well, I still think that Nugent ia a good guitarist, but I've abandoned all hope that he might garner maybe just a hint of class. You know, act like a musician, art artist! That last sentence will give you an idea of how shallow my skull was of insight at the time, as Nugent has become something like that insane uncle of yours who shows up at every Holiday dinner. Intensities in Ten Cities is more of what he's served up years previous; songs in major keys using major chords with lots of screaming guitar work and plenty of lyrics that display the melodic content of a back alley brawl. Nugent is obviously very happy to remain where he is, his audience seems more than happy to be typified as boneheads of the first order, and presently I'm more than happy to ignore this me. Give the audience what it wants and then wash the blood off your hands