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Thread: FEATURED CD - Miles Davis : Bitches Brew

  1. #1
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    FEATURED CD - Miles Davis : Bitches Brew



    Per Allmusic :

    Thought by many to be among the most revolutionary albums in jazz history, Miles Davis' Bitches Brew solidified the genre known as jazz-rock fusion. The original double LP included only six cuts and featured up to 12 musicians at any given time, some of whom were already established while others would become high-profile players later, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Airto, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Don Alias, Bennie Maupin, Larry Young, and Lenny White among them. Originally thought to be a series of long jams locked into grooves around keyboard, bass, or guitar vamps, Bitches Brew is actually a recording that producer Teo Macero assembled from various jams and takes by razor blade, splice to splice, section to section. "Pharaoh's Dance" opens the set with its slippery trumpet lines, McLaughlin's snaky guitar figures skirting the edge of the rhythm section and Don Alias' conga slipping through the middle. Corea and Zawinul's keyboards create a haunted, riffing modal groove, echoed and accented by the basses of Harvey Brooks and Holland. The title cut was originally composed as a five-part suite, though only three were used. Here the keyboards punch through the mix and big chords ring up distorted harmonics for Davis to solo rhythmically over, outside the mode. McLaughlin's comping creates a vamp, and the bass and drums carry the rest. It's a small taste of the deep voodoo funk to appear on Davis' later records. Side three opens with McLaughlin and Davis trading fours and eights over a lockstep hypnotic vamp on "Spanish Key." Zawinul's lyric sensibility provides a near chorus for Corea to flit around in; the congas and drummers juxtapose themselves against the basslines. It nearly segues into the brief "John McLaughlin," featuring an organ playing modes below arpeggiated blues guitar runs. The end of Bitches Brew, signified by the stellar "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down," reflects the influence of Jimi Hendrix with its chunky, slipped chords and Davis playing a ghostly melody through the funkiness of the rhythm section. It seemingly dances, becoming increasingly more chaotic until it nearly disintegrates before shimmering into a loose foggy nadir. The disc closes with "Sanctuary," completely redone here as a moody electric ballad that was reworked for this band while keeping enough of its integrity to be recognizable. Bitches Brew is so forward-thinking that it retains its freshness and mystery in the 21st century. [Some reissues add "Feio," recorded in early 1970 with much of the same band.]
    http://www.allmusic.com/album/bitches-brew-mw0000188019




    Regards,

    Duncan

  2. #2
    facetious maximus Yves's Avatar
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    A landmark album for sure... but to tell you the truth, I prefer its predecessor: In A Silent Way; esp the 3-disc expanded version. I find BB to be a tough listen all the way through in one sitting.
    "Corn Flakes pissed in. You ranted. Mission accomplished. Thread closed."

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  3. #3
    Bitches Brew is fire to Silent Way's water...love them both ! Yes maybe BB is a little long winded in places, but that's what breaking new ground is all about !

  4. #4
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Gigantic fan and as I get older, I appreciate it more and more. What once seemed a bit 'long winded' now seems trance-cendental.
    Steve F.

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  5. #5
    I'm in agreement with Yves. In A Silent Way, and Filles de Kilimanjaro for this listener. After that I'm not all that captivated by the electric stuff. Probably because Shorter, Zawinul, Williams, and Hancock split to do their own thing.

  6. #6
    Masterpiece!
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  7. #7
    Member No Pride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    I'm in agreement with Yves. In A Silent Way, and Filles de Kilimanjaro for this listener. After that I'm not all that captivated by the electric stuff. Probably because Shorter, Zawinul, Williams, and Hancock split to do their own thing.
    Well, Shorter and Zawinul are on BB. But I'm with you Reid, IaSW and Filles have aged better for me. I loved Bitches Brew back in the day, but my tastes have moved away from hearing that many musicians spontaneously interacting at once, even as remarkably controlled as it is at times. I think if I got stoned enough, I could appreciate BB more, but I never bought it on CD and my vinyl collection is long gone. I'm listening on YT now and it's an interesting trip down memory lane. Almost make me want to get it again, but I know I'd spin it twice and it would gather dust for a couple of years after. (ducking and running for cover...)

  8. #8
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    Owned it on lp for years, bought the first cd issue,lent it to someone who disappeared with my cd and a bunch of other peoples cds,and i haven't replaced it.Not sure why.

    My foremost positive memory of BB was(is) Bennie Maupin's snaky bass clarinet,which lent such a hip, ominous color to the ensemble.And Spanish Key,i recall digging that tune muchly.

    Now i've got a hankering to reacquire BB.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  9. #9
    By coincidence, I've been into a lot of the early fusion stuff lately, including the first three WR's, Miroslav's Infinite Search, Shorter's Super Nova, so maybe I'll revisit BB? I did buy the 3 disc re-issue a couple of years ago, and the music on the DVD is a lot different. It's abstract and free floating, without the rock influences.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    Masterpiece!
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  11. #11
    Member No Pride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Miroslav's Infinite Search, Shorter's Super Nova
    Two albums from my former vinyl collection that I'd love to hear again!

  12. #12
    Parrots ripped my flesh Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    By coincidence, I've been into a lot of the early fusion stuff lately, including the first three WR's, Miroslav's Infinite Search, Shorter's Super Nova
    Also, Zawinul's s/t solo album.

    the music on the DVD is a lot different. It's abstract and free floating, without the rock influences.
    Apparently that DVD was recorded the night before the 3rd CD of Bootleg Series Vol. 2.

  13. #13
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    I realize now i probably didn't feel the urge to reacquire Bitches Brew because of all the live Miles(Fillmore East(s) and West) and Bootleg Series, that feature much of the music from BB.I have all those cds and they smoke.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  14. #14
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Heard it many years ago early in my early prog years and I didn't get it. I need to pull it out again soon.
    Check out Colouratura's sophomore release Unfamiliar Skies - out this spring on Melodic Revolution Records!

    colouratura.bandcamp.com

  15. #15
    Member wideopenears's Avatar
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    Never gets old, for me.....

  16. #16
    I love this album. I remember the first time I really 'heard' the main theme of BB and realising it was repeating. Kind of a Eureka moment for me.

  17. #17
    Member Magic Mountain's Avatar
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    Masterpiece! I live in a rural area. Last week I was sitting outside by the firepit, listening to this album at about 2am, and was just totally under it's spell.

  18. #18
    Parrots ripped my flesh Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Apparently that DVD was recorded the night before the 3rd CD of Bootleg Series Vol. 2.
    Looks like that DVD is available as a standalone release as "Live in Copenhagen". At least one review I read claims that Corea "ruined" the show. Any thoughts?

  19. #19
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Bought it the week it was released; there was a LOT of buzz around it.

    Essential, but I prefer the albums immediately preceding and following it.
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  20. #20
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walt View Post
    My foremost positive memory of BB was(is) Bennie Maupin's snaky bass clarinet,which lent such a hip, ominous color to the ensemble.
    Yes. The bass clarinet makes this album.

    Great as BB is, though, I'm with those who love In a Silent Way the most.

  21. #21

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
    Heard it many years ago early in my early prog years and I didn't get it. I need to pull it out again soon.
    I never get it.It's one of the cornerstone how this forum is build.

  23. #23
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    BB's great but like a few others I prefer IASW and FDF.
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  24. #24
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Miles was definitely at the cutting edge here but there aint enough Rock in there for me. Gimme Emergency or Inner Mounting Flame instead.
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

  25. #25
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Gigantic fan and as I get older, I appreciate it more and more. What once seemed a bit 'long winded' now seems trance-cendental.
    Yes, indeed... even learning on how it was edited in the studio can't possibly dampen my admiration for this album

    Quote Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
    Heard it many years ago early in my early prog years and I didn't get it. I need to pull it out again soon.
    ASAP, is my advice... life's too short to live without loving this album

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Yes. The bass clarinet makes this album.
    Indeed, but it also made Mwandishi and a few more labums afterwards

    Quote Originally Posted by Modry Effekt View Post
    I never get it. It's one of the cornerstone how this forum is build.
    in a way, yes...
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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