Russell Gunn | Plays Miles – [HighNote Records, 2008] – Weekend SpinExcellent album…a must for all Miles Davis fans, who also are familiar with Russell Gunn’s work. In my opinion, Russell Gunn’s music fosters a conversation between a type of street poetics that converge with a Jazz aesthetic; as is evident in his 2008 release _Love Stories_. To speak of a political economy of Black music, in the specific context of Gunn’s music, is to speak of an dialectical interplay between sound technologies and Black music (Gunn’s utilization of technology as a means of innovation, as opposed to utilizing technology to compensate for a lack); it is to speak of a type of “sonic Afro-modernity” that bespeaks and embodies a rich legacy of Jazz trumpeting that converges with Gunn’s self-fashioning sound (one that is marked by a persistent critique of Western modernity); and finally, it is to speak of Russell Gunn’s Ethnomusicological journey (exterior as well as interior) that informs and laces each of his recordings, never letting in challenging the listener as well as his band members. With all due respect to Gunn and the fellow musicians, this recording is necessarily politicized. I think all “Black artistic expression” is necessarily politicized, given the historically marginal status that, by and large, Black artistic expression continues to occupy.
Make no mistake about it, this particular album is the music of Miles Davis. —Kelvin Monroe
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