While driving home from a gig late last night, I was looking for some music to keep me awake and landed on Miles Davis’ 1986 album Tutu. I hadn’t listened to it in many years, and I admit I probably won’t listen to it again soon. The overdone studio production sounds dated, and in my opinion Miles’ personality gets lost in the mix. His musicianship shines through as always, but this is obviously a Marcus Miller project featuring Miles rather than the other way around.
Marcus wrote and programmed most of the music on Tutu, and I enjoy his playing on the record, but the panoply of synthesizers and drum machines feels less like a coherent musical statement and more like a faddish costume Miles is wearing to attract a pop audience. This isn’t to say the songs themselves don’t have merit; I just prefer the spontaneity and verve of a live band. Some of Miles’ songs from this era get much more satisfying treatments on Live Around the World.
Anyway, the album did its job in keeping me alert, but out of all the funky faster tunes the one I kept coming back to was the ballad “Portia”. Something about it really fit the mood I was in, driving through foggy dark forests and empty city streets.