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Jason Miles – Kind of New 2: Blue Is Paris

May 29, 2017

One of the most unique recordings I’ve reviewed to date, legendary producer/keyboardist/composer Jason Miles’ new project, a single track with 10 different interpretations called Kind of New 2: Blue Is Paris is as profound as it is creative.

Blue Is Paris is a sort of return to Miles’ critically acclaimed 2015 release called Kind of New, which was a collaboration with trumpeter Ingrid Jensen in Paris. The inspiration finds itself rooted in the impact that the 2015 terror attacks in the city had on the composer — so impactful that he returned home with the idea of working on music for a second Kind of New project that he would ultimately title Blue Is Paris.

Deciding on the innovative approach of showcasing 10 different interpretations of the one track with different subtitles reserved for each artist he rounded up, Miles opened the window of his imagination and creativity for all to glimpse inside. The artists included passionate vocalist Maya Azucena who appears on track one subtitled “Sunshine” (her haunting vocals truly hammer the feeling and message home), trumpeter Russell Gunn on “Nighttime,” a calling and deep-reaching version, and multi-instrumentalist Ricky Kej who offers his magnificence on various Indian instruments such as the tabla, high tabla, santoor, and dumbek on “Morning.” The grip of the sound effects here is so powerful that no living soul can possibly hope to escape without leaving with a jarring sense of having been there in Paris to witness that harrowing moment in time. Then, there’s trumpeter Theo Croker on “After Hours,” who offers his own soulful and somber version, and the always riveting trumpeter Patches Stewart who deliberately draws out each heartfelt note and makes sure it clings to your heart on “Afternoon.”

There are many more moments and artists here that compel you to sit up and take notice — not just of the release but of that fateful tragedy in Paris two years ago. Only Miles could grab that moment and mold it into something intangible that the heart and soul can embrace forever. This is the kind of recording that a legend like Miles Davis would have been so very proud to endorse as it hearkens back to his own musical commentaries like “Tutu.” Thank God for those musicians who never lose sight of the world around them and who are never afraid to place their awareness into their music. This is a quality production, to say the very least. – Ronald Jackson