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Miles Beyond
June 20, 2011 8:17 PM   Subscribe

MILES BEYOND: the web's premier resource on the influential and inspirational electric music Miles Davis played from 1967 to 1991

"The Making of The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions"
posted by Trurl (20 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dylan was dissed for plugging in; Miles, not so much. But, then, Dylan plugging in didn't change anything. Miles changed things. We should acknowledge Sun Ra as the first really plugged in jazzbo, though. (And please ignore the Dylan reference in any forthcoming discussion. This is about Miles and his ever-changing posse.)
posted by kozad at 8:57 PM on June 20, 2011


I feel bad for my neighbours now, I know how much they hate when I play Agharta. It's odd to realize, after so many years of listening to and collecting Miles records, I've never sought out any footage of his electric (and my favourite) period. This seems like a good place to start, damn fine performance.
posted by Lorin at 9:09 PM on June 20, 2011


I feel bad for my neighbours now, I know how much they hate when I play Agharta

Robert Christgau: a well-aimed attempt to kick the world in the balls
posted by Trurl at 9:13 PM on June 20, 2011


Fun fact: the guitar player on Agharta, Reggie Lucas, went on to produce Madonna's first album.

I BLAME MILES DAVIS
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:16 PM on June 20, 2011


Now there's a strange career arc. I have friends into all manner of modern music that can't sit through the first track of Agharta, but I guess growing up listening to it desensitized me.
posted by Lorin at 9:19 PM on June 20, 2011


Reggie Lucas was a guitar player on Agharta. Pete Cosey was the guitar player on Agharta.
posted by Trurl at 9:20 PM on June 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I stand corrected.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:21 PM on June 20, 2011


According to Davis's account, he was sitting at a table with a woman he described as "a politician's wife" when she asked him an apparently well-meant question ...

Davis had a ready answer. "Well," he said, "I've changed music five or six times."
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:35 PM on June 20, 2011


To examine his career is to examine the history of jazz from the mid-'40s to the early '90s, since he was in the thick of almost every important innovation and stylistic development in the music during that period, and he often led the way in those changes, both with his own performances and recordings and by choosing sidemen and collaborators who forged new directions. It can even be argued that jazz stopped evolving when Davis wasn't there to push it forward. - AllMusic
posted by Trurl at 9:38 PM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read the book last year. It's pretty exhaustive, and I gained a lot of appreciation for what he was doing, then. Get Up With It and Live at the Filmore East are both still in heavy rotation. In a Silent Way is not something I listen to every day, but it's a pretty striking work.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:14 PM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


As has been said before, Miles was the Picasso of jazz. There will always be only one.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:14 PM on June 20, 2011


I love Miles' records from the 50s and 60s and "Kind of Blue" is the world's best selling jazz record because it's simply the best jazz album of all time. I've tried to listen to the electric jazz fusion stuff though and really can't bear it, I appreciate that it's incredibly clever and ground breaking and all that in an abstract sense, but I just don't enjoy listening to it. Oh, and, sorry kozad, but "Dylan plugging in didn't change anything"? That's just ridiculous. If you don't want people commenting on something as absurd as that then don't say it in the first place.
posted by joannemullen at 4:45 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Isle of Wight concert film from the second link in the post is excellent.
posted by Wolof at 4:51 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Kind of Blue" is the world's best selling jazz record because it's simply the best jazz album of all time.

Awesome argumentation.
posted by Wolof at 4:52 AM on June 21, 2011


(holding tongue re: Neil Young)
posted by obscurator at 6:50 AM on June 21, 2011


I'm fascinated by the details of the post-performance manipulations which produced Bitch's Brew. Equally intriguing is the fact that I've never heard about it before. Is it widely known and I somehow missed it?
posted by Jode at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2011


I was once firmly in the "acoustic Miles rules, electric drools" camp. Sure, I had a copy of Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way, but didn't listen to them very much. I'd always been a Weather Report fan and John McLaughlin fan and had dabbled in the proggy fusion acts such as Return to Forever and Al DiMeola. But what I'd read about Miles' electric phase gave me the impression that albums such as Agharta were screaming dissonant messes recorded during a time of creative decline for Miles.

It wasn't until years later that, for a variety of reasons, I started picking up more and more post-1965 Miles albums. First, the second quintet recordings, then the material surrounding the Bitches Brew sessions, then into deeper waters with On the Corner and Jack Johnson, until finally arriving at Agharta and Pangaea. The music hadn't changed, so how did I come around? The inexhaustible creativity of the musicians involved (many of whom graduated from Miles' band to their own marquee projects, the paradigm being Weather Report in that respect) and the way producer Teo Macero's compositional editing technique featured that creativity's brightest moments. The pleasure in following the arc from the cool, cerebral first quintet to the earthy, funky, groove-oriented pre-retirement bands that sound like Funkadelic jamming at Sun Ra's house.

Carlos Santana was quoted in a long-ago issue of Guitar Player describing Bitches Brew along the lines of the album being Miles showing you different jewels with each song. Much as I love pre-'65 Miles, the surprise, invention, musicality and groove that I find in his electric recordings have made me a fervent convert. Which is not to say that I'll throw Dark Magus on at dinner, but it's music that encourages and rewards repeated listening, headphones suggested.
posted by the sobsister at 7:59 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Much as I love pre-'65 Miles, the surprise, invention, musicality and groove that I find in his electric recordings have made me a fervent convert. Which is not to say that I'll throw Dark Magus on at dinner, but it's music that encourages and rewards repeated listening, headphones suggested.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Start with Live-Evil and move forward from there.
posted by antihostile at 8:29 AM on June 21, 2011


Let us not forget where Ken Burns put this material in his history of Jazz and what Branford M. had to say about it.
posted by bonefish at 12:20 PM on June 21, 2011


Let us not forget where Ken Burns put this material in his history of Jazz and what Branford M. had to say about it.

Please?
posted by Trurl at 6:16 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


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