TBT – “The Hot Spot” is a Jazz and Blues Eargasm
This week, Throwback Thursday looks at a forgotten collaboration between Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, and Taj Mahal that is sublime.
Often, in the musical realm, collaborations are anticipated with a sense of wanting and hope. There is the longing for music that is substantial, representing the artists involved in a good light, as well as the hope that the work itself will be pleasing and inviting. A collaboration is a chance to bring to fruition the concept of “Winning” that Charlie Sheen spoken of with great passion. Every now and again a project rises to this level, but the public at large is unaware of its assistance.
Such is the case with The Hot Spot, the soundtrack from the 1990 film, directed by Dennis Hopper. The album boasts 13 tracks, with a running time of just under 41 minutes. While the film itself was very much a Dennis Hopper project, the soundtrack was a Jack Nitzsche adventure. Yes, that Jack Nitzsche.
Nitzsche is credited with composing all 13 tracks here. While that is true in the overall scheme of things, it’s Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker who drive the music. Nitzsche gave them a basic theme, and they, along with Taj Mahal and his backing band, took the music where they wanted to go with it. Taken as a whole, the album might sound like one long piece to some, as these tracks, which could more accurately be described as sketches, do sound similar, especially the moving and grooving “Bank Robbery,” and the closing track, “End Credits.” The other 11 tracks are similar to each other in that they are moody, abstract, and atmospheric.
The joy of this album is having Hooker lay down a groove, with Taj Mahal and company backing, and Davis punctuating the resultant misty landscape with his haunting and piercing blades of light. This album is deep; an abyss we willingly to plunge into, unafraid, and lingering as we are drawn ahead.
This album is beautiful in that these artists are sharing their thought processes as they give birth to them, breathing life into them, and then, grooming them. To be privy to that creative process is indeed special. As a creative work, The Hot Spot is quite satisfying. For those that have not yet explored this brilliant album, we recommend securing a copy immediately. Find a place where you can be alone with this music, undisturbed, and experience this music. It will enrich and nourish your soul.