Rubberband is a rather sad example of how even an undisputed trumpet star like Miles Davis, who has written jazz history several times, can fall victim to political wrangling at label level. After thirty years, Miles Davis decided in 1985 to change his collaboration with Columbia Records to Warner Bros. In the same year the studio recordings for Rubberband began. The producer was Miles Davis himself together with the then young co-producers Randy Hall and Attala Zane Giles with the aim of (once again) reinventing the sound world of Miles Davis by taking a new musical direction closer to what was common in pop at the time. The aim was a rougher pace and the integration of different styles of pop, such as funk, Latin and Caribbean pop. The band included Hall and Giles, guitar, bass and keyboards, Wayne Linsey, Neil Larsen and Adam Holzman keyboards, Glenn Burris and Michael Paulo saxophone, Felton Crews and Cornelius Mims bass and Steve Reid and Wilburn Jr drums. Everything went smoothly until just before completion. Vocal contributions from Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan were still missing when Warner Bros man Tommy LiPuma vetoed a release of the album. As an advocate of softly washed productions, the edgy pace of Rubberband went against the line. And so Rubberband disappeared for 30 years in the archive.
Resurrection in the form of a "remaster" Rubberband celebrated on September 6, 2019 after remixing and supplementing the missing vocal contributions by Lalah Hathaway and Ledisi. The producers were the former co-producers Randy Hall and Attala Zane Giles, who at the time had ensured that Rubberband had sounded rougher than Miles Davis was used to. And what does the remastered rubber band sound like?
Listened more closely, Miles Davis' trumpet plays a minor role on the rubber band. His contribution suffers from the fact that he doesn't just seem artificially superimposed, but that he has been put over dodgy folkloric melodies and no less exhausted rhythms by means of a mixer, without being in any kind of connection with them. Whoever nurtured the hope that the radical change of direction envisaged on the occasion of the original studio production by Miles Davis through the influence of funk and soul grooves would take shape in remastered Rubbersoul through the collaboration of the then producers Randy Hall and Attala Zane Giles, will be disappointed by the now available final product. Unfortunately, this is all far too neat and without engagement, too smooth and meaningless, simply uninspired. With a few exceptions, such as here and there in "Give It Up", Rubberband sounds through and through what it is, an art product not too meticulously created on the computer.
Would the world of jazz be poorer without Rubber Band? Certainly not. This category undoubtedly includes other albums by Miles Davis, such as certainly "Kind of Blue". But even a gifted musician like Miles Davis didn't just produce albums at the lonely height of "Kind of Blue" in the course of his life. However, he produced albums that are better by classes than Rubberband. But this won't stop the die-hard Miles Davis fan from adding the posthumous album to his collection of Miles Davis albums.
Miles Davis, trumpet, keyboards
Glen Burris, saxophones
Adam Holzman, keyboards
Neil Larsen, keyboards
Wayne Linsey, keyboards
Vince Wilburn Jr., drums
Steve Reid, percussion
Randy Hall, vocals ("I Love What We Make Together")
Lalah Hathaway, vocals ("So Emotional")
Ledisi, vocals ("Rubberband of Life")