Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jazz Satellites, Vol. 1: Electrification [Virgin, 1996]
Running the gauntlet of not just fusion but such ignominious genres as Third Stream, soundtrack, and acid jazz, kowtowing to pretenders, meddlers, mooncalves, and schlockmeisters like Jan Garbarek, Teo Macero, Alice Coltrane, Norman Connors, and a panoply of pseudonymous English cyborgs, this obscurely annotated double-CD is the great lost testament of late Miles--cacophonous, futuristic, swinging-to-spacey variations on everything he thought he was doing between Bitches Brew and Agharta. Connecting up the mind-to-the-wall charge of early Mahavishnu and Tony Williams Lifetime, it ought to demonstrate the obvious to technomancers the world over--raid jazz for avant sounds and leave its beats for hip hop to sort out. In fact, it proved so indigestible that in its native U.K. it vanished without notice. If you find one, don't let go. A-