Giacomo Gates’ Sings Miles Davis

Scat singing is one of the true paradoxes in jazz. A vocalist who scats with any level of authority is usually considered to be a jazz singer, yet one need not scat to fall into the jazz singer category. So, Betty Carter was a jazz singer because she scatted, but so was Billie Holiday and she never scatted. There is, however, a small cadre of artists who could both sing and scat with aplomb. A short list might include, Sheila Jordan, Jon Hendricks, Eddie Jefferson, Mark Murphy and, the vocalist currently under scrutiny, Giacomo Gates. Here, performing music written by and associated with Miles Davis, Gates gives us the best of all possible worlds: a bit of syllabic scatting, some Hendricks-inspired singing of instrumental lines and a lot of his mellifluous baritone voice. Gates proves, as he did with his historic Gil Scott-Heron recording, that great music is not bound to the instrument on which it was created and that it loses neither import nor content when refracted through the prism of superb musicianship. Though there are notable contributions from pianist John di Martino, laying down some tasty changes, and Freddie Hendrix sounding quite Miles-like in his muted utterances, this disc is all about Giacomo Gates joyously creating music both carefully rehearsed and on the spot while all the time spreading that joy to his audience.

 



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