The ghost of Kind of Blue, perhaps the most beloved jazz record of all time, rises up out of this music and takes a stately stroll through its unfolding sounds. Quotes appear and disappear, familiar and yet now reinvented, like Hamlet resurfacing in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
This album results from a Barcelona jazz festival commissioning Omar Sosa to produce a concert tribute to Miles Davis’s masterpiece in 2009, when Kind of Blue turned 50. Now Sosa has recorded the project, so we can all hear how the spirit of these classic compositions by Davis and Bill Evans was processed through the Cuban pianist’s unique feel for mystery, as anyone who heard his extraordinary 2006 Basement performance will testify.
Eggun means ancestors, and Sosa uses the opportunity not just to channel Miles and Evans, but to pay homage to such musical forbears as Coltrane, Cherry, Zawinul, Machito, Fela Kuti and Satie. He uses 11 players (including guitarist Lionel Loueke), collectively called the Afri-Lectric Experience, centred around a piano/bass/drums/trumpet/alto/tenor sextet.
The end result is not unlike what may have happened had the 1980s incarnation of Miles devised Kind of Blue. The textures are chunky and electric and the rhythms based on back-beats or Afro-Cuban grooves, while the soloing has a melting, plaintive quality that speaks of marvels and mysteries rather than black and white.