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Bob Miles: Ancestral Spirits

Bob Miles’ Ancestral Spirits (Sheets of Sound) consists of a compilation of tracks from two previously released Atlanta recording sessions, Windstorm (1987) and Nubian Woman (1997). Except for trumpeter Eddie Davis’ “Rising Up,” tenorist/ sopranoist Miles composed all the tunes. And the attractive program is agreeably diverse, including modal tunes, Latins, ballads and straightahead swingers. Miles surrounded himself with excellent musicians, many of whom have first-class credentials. Their various combinations include sextet, quintet and quartet, with all except the quartet featuring saxophone and trumpet in the front line. Among the best soloists are Davis, who plays lyrical and swinging hard bop with confidence, and pianist Louis Heriveaux, who manages to swing even at the breakneck tempo of Davis’ tune and offers an absolutely beautiful solo on Miles’ ballad “Angelita.” The leader himself is at his best on slow pieces like his “Sister, Brother, Sister,” where his big-toned tenor renders the attractive melody with warmth and feeling.

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