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Miles...From India: New, Revelatory 2-Disc Set Reinterprets Miles Davis Classics
Published January 28, 2008

Miles...From India, a project involving two dozen musicians from the U.S. and India, is a cross-cultural summit meeting that puts a pan-global spin on such Miles classics as "Spanish Key."

In a startlingly original recreation of music associated with jazz legend Miles Davis, co-producers Bob Belden and Louiz Banks have recast familiar themes from such landmark recordings as Bitches Brew, In A Silent Way, and Kind of Blue with an East Meets West sensibility on Miles...From India. An incredibly ambitious project involving two dozen musicians from two separate continents recording in studios around the world, Miles...From India is a cross-cultural summit meeting that puts a provocative pan-global spin on such Miles classics as "All Blues," "Spanish Key," "So What," "It's About That Time" and "Jean Pierre."

Sitar and tablas, ghatam and khanjira, mridangam and Carnatic violin blend seamlessly with muted trumpet and saxophones, screaming electric guitar and grooving electric bass lines, piano, upright bass and drums on this profound fusion of Indian classical and American jazz. Recorded in Mumbai and Madras, India and New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, the music on Miles...From India was performed by classical and jazz musicians from India with the addition of musicians who have recorded or performed with Miles Davis over the span of five decades. The 2-CD set is scheduled for an April 15 release on the New York-based Times Square Records.

Producer-archivist Belden, renowned for his Grammy Award-winning reissue work on a series of Miles Davis boxed sets for Sony/Columbia, explains the genesis of Miles...From India. "Yusuf Gandhi, who heads Times Square Records, and I have had conversations about doing this for the past several years. Yusuf had the connection to India and an understanding of Indian classical music along with an appreciation for jazz and also fusion music. So we had some mutual interests there. At some point we were talking about potential projects and I was just in the process of doing the On The Corner boxed set. Of course, Miles incorporated tabla and sitar on those sessions from 1972, so I suggested revisiting Miles' Indian influenced music using some of those guys from On The Corner along with some Indian classical musicians and calling it Miles...From India. Yusuf said, 'Perfect,' and that was it."

Adds Gandhi, "Jazz musicians have always listened to Indian music and Indian musicians know jazz. Right now there are so many great young musicians in India that people in America have never heard of. You hear about the Ravi Shankar family and other prominent musicians from India, but you don't hear about the younger musicians who are out there doing innovative things. So we wanted to get some of them into the picture on this project."

The Miles alumni included on the sessions are saxophonists Dave Liebman (1972-74) and Gary Bartz (1970-71), guitarists Mike Stern (1981-84), Pete Cosey (1973-76) and John McLaughlin (1969-72), bassists Ron Carter (1963-69), Michael Henderson (1970-76), Marcus Miller (1981-1984), Benny Rietveld (1987-91), keyboardists Chick Corea (1968-72), Adam Holzman (1985-87) and Robert Irving III (1980-88), drummers Jimmy Cobb (1968-63), Leon 'Ndugu' Chancler (1971), Lenny White (1969) and Vince Wilburn (1981, 1984-1987) and tabla player Badal Roy (1972-3). The Indian contingent is represented by keyboardist Louiz Banks, drummer Gino Banks, American-born alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, sitarist Ravi Chari, Vikku Vinayakram (a charter member of Shakti) on ghatam, V. Selvaganesh (a member of Shakti and Remember Shakti) on khanjira, U. Shrinivas (from Remember Shakti) on electric mandolin, Brij Narain on sarod, Dilshad Khan on sarangi, Sridhar Parthasarathy on mridangam, Ranjit Barot on drums, Taufiq Qureshi and A. Sivamani on percussion, Kala Ramnath on Carnatic violin, Rakesh Chaurasia on flute and Shankar Mahadevan  Sikkil Gurucharan on Indian classical vocals.

With the Indian musicians first laying down the foundation of the tracks at studios in Mumbai and<