Audiophile: Digital, June 2019

hfnalbum.pngMiles Davis
Miles Smiles
Mobile Fidelity UDSACD2201

Confession of bias: I saw this lineup at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1967, eight months after it was recorded. And just look at the roster of his second quintet! Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on double-bass and Tony Williams on drums. I still can't believe I was so blessed. This Teo Macero-produced masterwork was Miles at ease, the original compositions of such a high calibre that half the album featured in his ensuing live set-list. It is both challenging and accessible, something one can rarely say about such adventurous material, while the playing from all five is extraordinary. Even if I didn't have the personal experience, this would be one of my all-time fave Miles efforts. KK


The Action
Shadows And Reflections
Grapefruit CRSEGBK045 (four discs)

Subtitled 'The Complete Recordings 1964-68', this exceptional, academic set contains the total output of one of those incredible 'British Invasion' period bands that somehow failed to achieve the international success warranted by both their talent and local reputation. Like The Creation and others worshipped by cultists, The Action evolved from a Mod cover band to a power pop outfit and into something far more adventurous, recalling The Who, Small Faces and other contemporaries. This 86-track set, with a 48pp booklet, explains how fortune passed them by, while making its point: as this set shows, they were far too good to wind up a rock footnote. KK


Jimi Hendrix
Axis: Bold As Love
Analogue Productions CAPP19792SA (mono and stereo)

What can you add about a masterpiece that hasn't already been said? By the time this was released, in December 1967, Hendrix was already recognised as the most inventive, accomplished guitarist, well, ever. The album, though, was something of a rush job by Hendrix's standards, and is considered to be the lesser of his three studio efforts. That said, so-so Hendrix is about a thousand times better than anything else. 'Little Wing', 'If 6 Was 9', 'Castles Made Of Sand' – we're talking 'genius' here. Should you think, well, I have the 1997 official CD, this ups the ante not just with an expanded booklet but the entire mono mix as well as the stereo. KK


The Hues Corporation
Rockin' Soul & Love Corporation
Vocalion CDSML8539

For their second and third releases from 1974/5, The Hues Corporation continued with the formula of light, Motown-ish, quasi-The 5th Dimension pop established with their debut, Freedom For The Stallion. These albums retained the elegant harmonies, with their distinctive female/male lead vocal swaps, scintillating brass, enough funk to address the tropes of the disco era and a treat that makes this a must, for Rockin' Soul contains the smash hit edit of their first LP's magnificent stand-out track, 'Rock The Boat'. This SACD also continues Vocalion's heroic, much-appreciated championing of original quadraphonic mixes, at last worth hearing via discrete surround systems. KK