As timeless as the music that comes out of ever-forward thinking label Darker Than Wax is, it’s been way too long that the world has gone without a full length album from one of its original family members and co-founders, Kaye.
That’s set to change on October 22 with the release of the producer’s debut album, Distant Dancefloor. Jazz chords metamorphose into club shakers, relentlessly melodic and beautifully interwoven. His Jazz influences run deep, and extend into his choices for his favourite 5 for Bonafide.
Over to Kaye:
I’m going to choose just one artist, Miles Davis, because he’s the reason that got me started on my musical journey (and life), and I consider him my musical father.
Also because he’s been at the forefront of almost every major evolution of Jazz, and very few musicians can lay claim to that!
1. Old Folks
This was from Someday My Prince Will Come, and was probably THE album that changed my life when I was 14. My brother was a Jazz fan so there was always music playing in the house when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until I consciously picked something randomly from his collection to listen on my own that the music started speaking to me, and for some reason this album really tore through me. I was literally listening to it everyday till I almost wore out the cassette!
Romantic, pained, cool, vibey, and pensive all at the same time. It was then the stars aligned and I knew I wanted to play music for the rest of my life, and I’ve still remained true to that oath I swore to myself all those years ago!
His first of many collaborations with the genius composer Gil Evans, the album Birth of the Cool hinted at the concept of ‘Cool Jazz’ before it was ever a thing.
The textures of the harmonies layered with the choice of instruments and their respective timbres made this a truly standout and visionary album in its time.
This was a Wayne Shorter composition, but the Miles version is just off the hook with all the polyrhythms weaving in and out of that hypnotic bassline. Everything sounds all over the place but yet super tight at the same time.
This is one of those albums that Jazz nerds can study and analyse for an eternity – there’s that much going on here.
This was recorded with his second classic quintet, all members of which then proceeded to break massive new ground for Jazz after leaving Miles as a sideman, which signals the other genius of Miles Davis, not as a musician, but as a band leader. He just knew how to pick the right combination of musicians that would truly make magic together.
4. It’s About That Time
His famous entry into ‘Electric Jazz’ began with In a Silent Way. He was already fucking with Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix, and later on, Prince, so this cat always had his ear outside of jazz as well as in it. Of course there was a huge uproar from the purists when this and subsequently Bitches Brew were released, but Miles didn’t give a shit, never did. And we’re talking more than half a century ago, but take that chord progression and/or bassline, and make a ‘modern’ sounding track out of it. It will still sound as fresh and funky as ever.
This choice is more for its significance and the point I’m trying to make that he was there at so many evolutions in Jazz music, or just music in general. Bebop, Hard Bop, Cool Jazz, Modal Jazz, Fusion, Blues, Rock, Funk, Soul, Hip Hop, he had his fingers in everything.
That kind of vision is simply not human, and something that inspires me all the time when I think of it.
I don’t have the slightest doubt that if he lived beyond 1991, he would be dabbling in House music and Techno.