New to the music that Miles made in his last decade? Here’s a selection of 20 of the best tracks he recorded during this period. If any Miles fan has an alternative list of 20 favourites from the 1980s, let me know what they are and I’ll put them online!
[Extra! Name That Tune is a special page on The Last Miles website that reveals the people after whom Miles named many of his tunes. Click here to find out who was immortalised by Miles in one of his song titles… ]
The Best 1980s Miles Tracks
1. “Fat Time” (The Man With The Horn)
Featuring most of the band that went out on tour with Miles, “Fat Time” is a tight funk number with a Spanish vibe and features a scorching guitar solo from Mike Stern.
2. “Jean-Pierre” (We Want Miles)
This tune became Miles’s anthem and its child-like melody captivates many listeners.
3. “Back Seat Betty” (We Want Miles)
A more strident version than that found on The Man With The Horn, with lots of power, energy and drama. Miles plays strongly and the bassline from Marcus Miller is superb.
4. “My Man’s Gone Now” (We Want Miles)
A beautiful reworking of the 1958 classic “Porgy & Bess” which alternates between a ballad and jazz-swing.
5. “It Gets Better” (Star People)
A blues number that highlights the playing of both Miles and guitarist John Scofield.
6. “Star On Cicely” (Star People)
A funky number with a strong groove.
7. “Decoy” (Decoy)
Jazz-funk doesn’t come much better than this. Propelled by Darryl Jones’s “thunder thumb” bassline and also featuring Branford Marsalis on soprano sax.
8. “That’s Right” (Decoy)
An 11-minute bluesy number in which everyone gets to shine. Miles plays with a lot of heart on this one.
9. “Ms Morrisine” (You’re Under Arrest)
A reggae-tinged number featuring John McLaughlin on guitar.
10. “You’re Under Arrest” (You’re Under Arrest)
A storming number featuring a stirring Bob Berg solo on tenor sax.
11. “Green” (Aura)
A moody introspective number that sees Miles ably supported by Bo Stief on electric bass and the late, great Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on acoustic bass.
12. “Tutu” (Tutu)
A dark brooding number created by Marcus Miller and one of the classic tracks of the 1980s.
13. “Portia” (Tutu)
A beautiful Spanish-tinged ballad with Miles’s fragile notes floating over an atmospheric soundscape.
14. “Full Nelson” (Tutu)
Inspired by Prince, this playful, funky number sees lots of interplay between Miles and Marcus Miller.
15. “Siesta” (Siesta)
This Spanish-flavoured track sees Miles playing powerfully on open horn and has John Scofield supporting on acoustic guitar.
16. “Hannibal” (Amandla)
A bitter-sweet number that combines joyous steel drum sounds with a mournful theme.
17. “Mr Pastorius” (Amandla)
Another classic in which Miles surprised everyone by playing jazz-swing on this beautiful tribute to bassist Jaco Pastorius.
18. “Mystery” (Doo-Bop)
Jazz and hip-hop can mix and Miles and Easy Mo Bee show how on this melodic number.
19. “Human Nature” (Live Around The World)
Far superior to the version found on “You’re Under Arrest” and featuring a storming solo from Kenny Garrett on alto sax.
20. “Time After Time” (Live Around The World)
Once again, the live version of this Cyndi Lauper ballad outshines the studio version.