Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet); Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone); Herbie Hancock (piano); Ron Carter (bass); Tony Williams (drums).
Producers: Teo Macero, Howard Roberts.
Reissue producers: Michael Cuscuna, Bob Belden.
Recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York, New York on between June 7 and July 19, 1967. Originally released on Columbia (9594). Includes liner notes by Bob Belden.
Digitally remastered using 20-bit technology by Mark Wilder and Rob Schwarz (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).
NEFERTITI represents the final "straight-ahead" offering by Miles Davis' legendary '60s quintet, the culmination of a creative arc which began with E.S.P.. On four subsequent albums--MILES IN THE SKY, FILLES DE KILIMANJARO, IN A SILENT WAY and BITCHES BREW--Davis forged a fresh creative arc in which he allowed elements of electronics, blues, funk and rock to intermingle with his own post-modernist sensibility to launch the jazz-rock fusion era.
NEFERTITI was the fruition of all Davis' experiments in free form, bebop, cool and modal jazz. Davis's signature as an improviser and musical editor is writ large on each composition, particularly in the provocative use of space. On Shorter's famous title tune, the trumpet and tenor saxophone shadow each other's line in a deliberately inexact manner, almost like a form of silkscreening, as Hancock's piano tolls away suggestively and Tony Williams drops percussive grenades all over the canvas--as if the drums were the lead voice (and don't think they aren't).
Shorter's floating melody on "Fall" and his boppish figures on "Pinocchio" have also become essential elements of the modern jazz lexicon, and listen to how bassist Carter and Williams suspend, subdivide and generally subert the traditional 4/4 swing pulse on the later. Williams' "Hand Jive" and Hancock's "Madness" offer cubist shards of melody as the take off point for more resounding swing interplay with Carter and Williams, while the pithy "Riot" redefines Afro-Cuban in a decidedly modern manner. NEFERTITI is a mysterious, meliflouous, enduring classic.
Q (1/92, p.89) - 5 Stars - Excellent - "...Acoustic jazz couldn't go far after this masterpiece..."
Down Beat (p.66) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "Offset by Hancock's staggered lines, drummer Tony Williams' cymbal taps during `Fall' reel you into the song in a mesmerizing manner..."