Originally Posted by Pollyanna
Ken, if you're going to weigh up the other Ken with Miles, how about Miles's cover of a pop tune, which is ostensibly smooth jazz: Time After Time
I've found a sound clip of Kenny's band live playing Midnight Motion
The main differences apparent to these untrained ears are the voicing, phrasing and dynamics. Miles's playing is more sensitive, emotional and vulnerable. Not that that necessarily denotes "jazz" since there are many jazz solos that are like technical fortresses. Miles's backing in that tune is more jazzy, whereas Kenny's crew is more funk-oriented. Of course Kenny doesn't use space like Miles, but who does?
Really, for all the flak the ole Ken receives, he and his band are a pretty damn slick unit, whatever anyone wants to call the music. Not my style but if that band's crappola I'll eat my hat.
I actually liked when Miles did Cyndi's tune. My friend in college used to study with her vocal coach. I got to head a lot of first hand stories about what a diva she was and how difficult she could be. She would show up to lesson in a limousine. But Cyndi has some pipes and she had a five octave range back then.
Whatever Miles does, it is still Miles doing it and Miles making a little money was surely someone who deserved to make a little money. Like I've said, I am not the guy who hates popular jazz. I am not the guy who hates it when Herbie or Manhattan Transfer have a hit. I don't get all bent out of shape. I certainly don't have a problem with musicians making money. The original of the Cyndi cover is a little bit uninteresting; but this live version does perk it up a bit.
There has always been a problem with artists crossing over to the pop arena, like that guy Dylan. Ella had the same problem and the song books were a way of .doing a more popular repertoire. That was a good marketing idea. I like some of the song books; but they tend to be hit or miss. But Ella with Basie was quite good all around.
It's funny to listen to the bass on the Kenny track and it sounds like warmed over Stanley Clarke. The thing about smooth jazz again is that it was a marketing label, a bunch of suits researching that people like the word 'smooth' for a genre and of course jazz would give it some sophistication. It is not a genre developed by jazz musicians. I have pretty good pitch; but to a lot of musicians, probably with better pitch than me, think Kenny's pitch is sharp and they think his tone is poor. I am not so arrogant that I am going to say well they're only great jazz artists what do they know. I know better what defines jazz than great artists who perform it for a living, scholars who spend their life studying it, and people who make the sacrifice to do what they love in this life.