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Often misunderstood and poorly executed tunes give Jazz a bad name. Miles Davis was a Jazz veteran of forty plus years who has created many great contemporary works and has a wide audience and varied following.   When his quartet was formed in 1959 Davis implemented a new way for him and his band to play jazz. Improvising a more melodious rather than harmonic sound, and staying away from rapid chord changes helped create the dreamy atmosphere and sound that made Kind of Blue become an instant hit. This new style while changing slightly, has become the way Davis carried out his performances over the past years creating a almost trademark sound. Originally released in 1986, Tutu has been remixed and re-released, as a DVD-Audio disc.


The Album
Jazz gets a lot of bad press. Thoughts of clichéd image of a smoky room while some over enthusiastic musicians perform “experimental jazz” on stage a la The Fast Show (BBC comic sketch show) spring to mind (nice!) which is a stereotype I should really try to forget. The album is a melodious meander through rhythmic beats and perky trumpet solos. There are a few tracks with sprightly note changes making some of the tracks a lot faster than the smooth elevator music I was expecting when I popped this disc in my player but generally it is a relaxing affair.

Miles Davis takes centre stage as expected on the trumpet and the multi talented Marcus Miller plays all other instruments except a few mentioned in the insert of the DVD. He also wrote all the tracks which seems to me that this album should be a Marcus Miller album rather than a Miles Davis album, but that must be something to do with Davis’ sheer prowess and domination of this trumpet that makes it all his own.

The title track Tutu opens with drums and bass. At first it is like sitting in the middle of the drum kit which is a new DVD-Audio experience to me as a lot of the time, drums are not pronounced so forcefully from each speaker. It is not until the trumpet sashays in that you get the true perspective of the audio mix. Again as with all the discs I have listened to, the sheer quality and authenticity of the audio in general is still astounding me. This is not a new recording; it was originally done in 1986 so it has been up mixed from the original recording to 5.1 and to the high resolution format of DVD-Audio. There is no doubt that the music here is several times better than the CD would be – it is very easy to hear this, however occasionally the sound is a little muted or overly bassy in places. I cannot compare it to the original mix so I cannot say if it is as this originally, or perhaps if the higher sampling rate has made this more noticeable. It could even be a slight problem with the master recording but it is not something I want to dwell on as it really is a minor imperfection.

The track Thomaas has a very definite and recognisable synthesizer and trumpet melody which again is presented well with the trumpet coming mainly from the front of the stage. The possible over use of the synthesiser in this track, and its style do date the track very easily to the eighties which is either good or bad thing, depending on your personal music tastes. I think it’s a shame as the rest of the album is simply jazz, where as this song is definitely 80’s jazz.


This disc is presented in the nearly standard Warner packaging which includes the “disc Content” table which I am a fan of. The disc content is clearly shown and defined for all and sundry to see. This means that there should be no confusion as to what the disc is, and what player is required to view what component. Most DVD-Audio discs I have seen employ this method of distributing the information and it certainly makes it easier for the undiscerning shopper to see that perhaps this disc won’t play on their CD player, but it will definitely play on their DVD player, even if they do not have DVD-Audio capabilities.

There are only two extras on this disc which is a bit of a shame for jazz fans. Bucket loads of space is left and it is a shame that it was not made use of. The extras are a Discography and a Biography. The discography features the covers and track listing for six albums and the biography is an interesting read into his career and rise to the top of the jazz ladder.  The menus are nicely crafted and the icon for selecting each option is a trumpet which is a nice touch. The fit in quite well with the albums packaging and style so some thought obviously went into to producing these.

Jazz is not my thing (baby) and a short search on the internet shows that this is not his fans favourite album (which makes me wonder why it was specifically picked for DVD-Audio) however it does seem have done well with general music fans. Perhaps this is a good way to get started on the jazz genre for those that are interested, and I must say I am glad Warner are trying to cater for all by releasing a plethora of varying titles and styles on this relatively new format however this just didn’t do it for me. There is no doubt that this man was incredibly talented and has inspired many musicians around the world, and even though he passed away in 1991, the release of Tutu on DVD-Audio will give a new lease of life to a mans love and passion that was eclectic, improvised jazz.