MILES DAVIS — You're Under Arrest

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MILES DAVIS - You're Under Arrest cover
2.84 | 16 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1985

Filed under Fusion


1. One Phone Call / Street Scenes (4:36)
2. Human Nature (4:30)
3. Intro: MD 1 / Something's On Your Mind / MD 2 (7:18)
4. Ms. Morrisine (4:56)
5. Katia Prelude (0:42)
6. Katia (7:39)
7. Time After Time (3:39)
8. You're Under Arrest (6:13)
9. Medley: Jean Pierre / You're Under Arrest / Then There Were None (3:26)

Total Time: 43:01


- Darryl Jones / Bass
- Al Foster / Drums (tracks: 1, 7 to 9)
- Vincent Wilburn / Drums (tracks: 2 to 6)
- John McLaughlin / Guitar (tracks: 4 to 6)
- John Scofield / Guitar (tracks: 1 to 3, 7, 9)
- Steve Thornton / Percussion
- Bob Berg / Saxophone [Soprano] (tracks: 1, 8, 9)
- Robert Irving III / Synthesizer
- Miles Davis / Trumpet

About this release

Columbia – CK 40023

Recorded and mixed in its entirety at Record Plant Studios, New York City

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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"You're Under Arrest" which many Jazz fans thought should have happened to Miles Davis after the release of this later album in his career but didn't they slam "On The Corner" as well and at least Miles puts some great notes together on his horn at times throughout this recording. Plenty of big names accompanying Miles on this album with John Scofield, John McLaughlin, Al Foster and even Sting makes a cameo. Recorded in 1985 with that 1980's electronic sound and beat to go with it that seems to be primarily funk but more in a low key manner with Miles playing his solos and additions over this. Once again there were questions over some of the chosen material in particular "Human Nature" and "Time After Time" but if one looks back didn't they say that when he chose "Bye Bye Blackbird" to be included back in 1957 on his first Columbia album "Round Midnight" and a good pop song is a good pop song which Miles had no problem with playing. This album surprsingly made it to number three on the jazz charts at the time of its release, so someone was buying it and perhaps it was the young people who like myself back then knew these two songs from Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper with both of them being contempary for that time. They are only a small proportion of the album though with Miles Davis and John Scofield in a less manner writing the majority of the material for the rest of the album. Funk seems to be the main undercurrent to all the majority of these tunes although slightly subdued as well there is the addition of Miles actually doing a narration in his best gravel tone.

"One Phone Call, Street Scenes" is the album opener and the funk begins with Miles narrating the call but the stab and solo of John Scofields guitar throughout with the addition of Miles on mute and open trumpet in the proceedings brings in that early seventies sound to the track. "Human Nature" is played exactly as that with Miles on mute and keeping primarily to the tune with a great laid back result. Driving beat with more Funk is back in the three part composition "MD1/Somethings On Your Mind/MD2" with a more straight approach in the centre of the three part composition. "Ms. Morrisine" is where John Scofield takes a break and is replaced with John McLaughlin on guitar which brings some great stretch and range that he has with his style and Miles goes first with the majority of the solo time but John puts in quite a nice one to finish of this composition with those stabbing points coming from the band right throughout. This is actually one of the great sequences within the album as John finishes off his solo for "Ms Morrisine" he leads us in with the prelude for "Katia" and he then leads the main composition with his wonderful crunchy guitar that he played at times. Cyndi Lauper's tune "Time After Time" follows and once again Miles plays mute and keeps the song well within its structure but surprisingly it works beautifully with Miles's beautiful trumpet tone. The album title "You're Under Arrest" which is a John Scofield composition is more electronic funk undercurrent with Miles and the last track which is a medley and it is primarily Miles playing over the funk again but there are some sound additives within the composition with a crying baby etc with the last section being more stretched in a Jazz manner.

I am not a fan of Miles Davis's later work but still there were times when it is just a joy to hear Miles play not to mention John Scofield and John McLaughlin and if one takes this album for what is, a creature of the 1980's and at least Miles was still trying. I find this a much more interesting listen than the more electronic sounding "Tutu" which followed. There are not many people who have a good thing to say about the album "You're Under Arrest" these days but take it for what it is and although I do admit it is far from Miles Davis's best there are some great moments and playing at times and it those pop tunes that I like the best with that funk undercurrent starting to tire towards the albums end.
You're Under Arrest marks the beginning of the last phase of Miles Davis' lengthy career. With this album he finally lays to rest the free rock jams that served him so well from the early 70s on and becomes a sophisticated and worldly purveyor of his own unique brand of pop/jazz. Although this album may seem like a commercial sell-out, in many ways Miles is returning to the days when he get could bring a tear to people's eyes with his quirky and ironic, yet sentimental versions of My Funny Valentine and Porgy and Bess, only now he is playing hits by Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper, plus a few popish instrumentals he wrote himself. After a pointless incidental album opener Miles heads straight into Human Nature, a beautiful pop ballad by Michael Jackson. Miles' version does the original justice and his trumpet playing is sweet and melancholic as he stays true to the innocent nature of Michael's original recording. This is followed by two nice pop-jazz instrumentals that find Miles mixing popular 80s influences such as Prince and Weather Report. This is pop-jazz with a unique and personal flavor and has nothing to do with the sort of pabulum served up by the likes of Kenny G.

Side two opens with Katia, a world beat influenced fusion number with poly-synth horn stabs galore that mines a sound and style that was also popular with Weather Report at the time. Katia also features some great guitar work from John McLaughlin who returns to work with his old boss one more time. Next up is Miles' version of Cyndi Lauper's sentimental ballad, Time After Time. Once again Miles plays it straight and delivers a direct and unflinching version of Cyndi's bittersweet tune. I saw Miles perform this song in concert just a few months before his death. At that point in his career the song had been slowed down and spaced out to the point of being some sort of mystical connection to the beyond. Davis' trumpet would hang on to, and stretch, every note and when the two main chords that announce the chorus slowly rolled by they were like massive tsunami waves of emotion. I wish I had a recording of that concert because people were so moved during the performance that many spontaneously yelled out to him during the tense quiet moments. So much for people who felt Miles was a sell-out for recording pop tunes. The rest of side two is taken with another funky world beat fusion number, You're Under Arrest, which features great guitar work from John Schofield.

The 80s was a hard time for Miles, at the beginning of the decade he returned to his hard jazz-rock roots from the 70s, but soon wore that approach out on Decoy. You're Under Arrest is an improvement as Miles begins to turn to sophisticated pop and modernized world beat to break from the past and create a more mature and elegant music to take him through his last days.

Members reviews

The 1980's were not the greatest time for Miles Davis, and like many seasoned jazz artists were doing at the time, he exchanged his ambitious musical attitude for a much more safe eighties' pop-jazz sound. You're Under Arrest is one of the low points in the trumpeter's vast discography, and even though there are a few decent numbers here, the album as a whole comes across as pretty uninspired and safe. Miles Davis lets his genius shine through occasionally, but not nearly enough to justify a purchase for those who aren't die-hard fans of his music. You're Under Arrest is not a bad album in my opinion, but it's so formulaic and generic that I can only recommend it to people who've already heard the vast majority of Miles's discography.

Even though this is first and foremost a commercial-tinged eighties' pop-jazz album, You're Under Arrest does actually vary quite a bit from track to track. The funky "One Phone Call/Street Scenes" opens up the album, only to be followed up by the (surprisingly enjoyable) cover of Michael Jackson's pop tune "Human Nature". On this album, you'll also find a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", as well as some pretty good fusion in the title track. While the entire album is inoffensive and pretty catchy, it lacks any truly spectacular moments and I'm left with a rather lukewarm feeling when the CD ends. There just isn't anything all that powerful or special here, and the shallow songwriting fails to impress me aside from its initial "catchiness".

Maybe part of the reason why You're Under Arrest sounds so uninspired is the weak production; cheesy synth tones, generic eighties' drums, and a rather weak mix all plague the album. Factor in the unadventurous songwriting and you have an album that sounds pretty safe and clichéd to these ears.

You're Under Arrest is often cited as one of the weakest Davis albums out there, and it's not that difficult to understand why after giving it a few spins. Even though the excellent musicianship and decent songwriting save the album from being terrible, the music is just so uninspired and clichéd that it's difficult for me to regard this as part of Miles Davis's essential canon. Still, You're Under Arrest is not a terrible purchase for die-hard fans of Miles Davis and eighties' jazz music so I guess 2.5 stars are deserved. You're probably best off purchasing almost every other Miles album before this one, though.

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