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Author: Subject: Miles Davis "Bitches Brew"- Discuss

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  posted on 2/10/2008 at 11:43 PM
I'm listening right now for the first time in awhile. Felt it appropriate to bring it up as so many folks may have strong opinions for and against this piece of work.

The album was hated at first and Miles was labeled a "sell-out".

It was not until later for many that is was seen as a complex, hypnotic, profoundly unique albeit noisy body of work.

Discuss...............................


 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 12:23 AM
Zima

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 12:29 AM
I absolutely love it. "Spanish Key" is one of my favorites songs ever. I don't don't buy the whole 'sell out' angle, good music is good music and you can't blame an artist for trying new things. There's a difference between bending with them times (Brothers of the Road) and meeting them head on. Miles wasn't a sheep, Bitches Brew (along with In a Silent Way, which clearly had a huge effect on Dickey Betts' writing) was an entirely new way of approaching jazz and I can't get enough of it. Great album.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 01:31 AM
absolutly incredible, and remains so today as well. i think i was 15 or so when i first heard, i'm guessing around 3 years ago (if hasn't been that long i'm surprised because its one of the albums that has really defined what i'm into). just incredible man. I still hear new stuff, and i assume i will continue to.

I'll share a fun time from awhile back with this album. Me and my bassist (who loves Miles too) had a good toke down, we were listening to this album. I think we were listening to the first track, Pharoah's Dance, and my speakers were i dunno, 5 or so feet apart, and all of a sudden Matt (bassist) said to me dude listen to this beat over here! Miles had two drummers, one on both side, playing different beats. It was awesome, we switching spots to hear the different beats. "Man this guy is playing a gangsta beat, and this guy is playing a real laid back beat!" It was alot of fun. Jack Dejohnette is awesome.

I think my fav. track is Miles Runs the Voodoo down. I love the beat, the melody and the solos. I love all the tracks though, each one has its special place, and unique awesome place, no filler. Some people disregard the short track "John McLaughlin", but I think its pretty badass, thats some killer Fender Rhodes if i do say so. However, the cd reissues include an extra track, which i dont really listen to much. it doesn't fit with the other stuff really, and rightfully so as the band is slightly different and it was recorded in Feb. of 1970 I believe, whereas the original sessions were August 1969. Its not bad, but it definetly doesn't compare to the other classics from the original album.

To sum it up though, its just an all around incredible album.

oh, and one thing I really love is Benny Maupin's bass clarinet. So sick and evil, he really makes things unique. Damn Miles for being so brilliant!! I'm now under a curse where I must find a bass clarinet player for some stuff with my own band...Lol, lotta fun...

[Edited on 2/11/2008 by Mt_Magnolia_Man]

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 02:13 AM
i think his arrangement style comes from the work with Gil Evans on "Sketches of Spain." the difference
is the inclusion of electric instruments. John McLaughlin is my favorite guitar player and he burns
on this release. Gil was more of an influence on Miles than Dizzy or Bird were, IMO.

"Sell out" is a term of jealousy for another's success.


The complete bitches brew box set has some nice alternate takes and unreleased stuff also.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 02:47 AM
quote:
"Sell out" is a term of jealousy for another's success.


Yeah, it's not like Miles could have retired off of the royalties from Bitches Brew. Well, not with his smack habit, anyways. Selling out is when one cashes in by way of self-recycling (see Aerosmith). Reminds me of Electric Mud, Muddy Waters' heavy electric album from that period that a lot of 'purists' have condemned. Granted, Muddy wasn't as creatively involved in it like Miles was in Brew, but it's still unique among the heavy blues rock of that era and a great album that stands the test of time beautifully (better than many of the young blues-rockers of his time). Miles pushed the envelope. Never would have had "Les Brers" or "High Falls" without him.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 08:10 AM
Bitches Brew is truly genius at many levels.

the bass clarinet already mentioned is a perfect example........that sound makes you feel like you are in a jungle and a 28 foot python is about to slide under your feet with you knowing it.

you always feel like something is about to happen when you listen to this stuff - which includes........Jack Johnson, Big Fun as well as Bitches Brew.........you must include those works in this discusison I believe.

the peeps whp played with him were The A Team and they all went on after these sessions to energize their careers and create a new sound in jazz.

wow = what's not to like huh?

some jazz historians and very strict classic jazz peeps will have shivers listening to it.......well deal people - it is what it is and it is Miles so there > he is the godfather of modern jazz..........Coltrane and others were pioneers but did not make it to The Pacific Ocean like Miles did...........he went out there and brought a posse' of the best players with him to create a new world.

he was hard core addicted, mean, a bigot, hard to work with if not impossible, etc etc.

So What..........

this work was the equivalent of Picasso's "Guernica" IMHO as it was the amalgamation and response to a ton of schitt.

if you like these sounds go find an album series and a band named = Yo Miles!

kewl thread.

my fave Miles tune right now for sure: Milestones..........check it out.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 08:15 AM
quote:
i think his arrangement style comes from the work with Gil Evans on "Sketches of Spain." the difference
is the inclusion of electric instruments. John McLaughlin is my favorite guitar player and he burns
on this release. Gil was more of an influence on Miles than Dizzy or Bird were, IMO.

"Sell out" is a term of jealousy for another's success.


The complete bitches brew box set has some nice alternate takes and unreleased stuff also.



John's awesome , love his work on the Jack Johnson album as well .

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 08:37 AM
In my all-time top 10 albums.
Sell out? Try, he was keeping up with the times..or better yet...ahead of it.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 08:50 AM
on a recent episode of the always-entertaining "sound opinions" - available as a free podcast from ITunes, fwiw -- the guys were speaking with avant-sax player Ken Vandenmark, who expressed incredulity that ANYONE could think of that period of Miles as "commercial."
 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 08:50 AM
on a recent episode of the always-entertaining "sound opinions" - available as a free podcast from ITunes, fwiw -- the guys were speaking with avant-sax player Ken Vandenmark, who expressed incredulity that ANYONE could think of that period of Miles as "commercial."
 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 08:55 AM
I think those labeling him a sell out at the time were mad that this was not the jazz they were used to. Rock improvisation was not in the jazz vernacular.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 11:31 AM
to call it a sell out would be to trivialize all of the influence of funk, blues and yes rock on all music same as jazz influenced everything else at some level.

so the sell out comment is understandable but not well thought all the way through IMHO.

of course it was influenced..........that was the point.

I do not think that is selling out.

it was a response.

artists do that.............often.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 12:50 PM
Nice line up.... Be great to play music with these guys

Personnel
Miles Davis - trumpet
Wayne Shorter - soprano saxophone
Bennie Maupin - bass clarinet
Chick Corea - electric piano (solo on "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down")
Larry Young - electric piano
Joe Zawinul - electric piano
John McLaughlin - guitar
Dave Holland - bass
Harvey Brooks - electric bass
Lenny White - drum set
Billy Cobham - drum set
Jack DeJohnette - drum set
Don Alias - congas, drum set only on "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down"
Juma Santos - shaker, congas
Airto Moreira - percussion


References
^ Meyer, Bill. Miles Davis: The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (August 1969-February 1970) (HTML) (English). Ink Blot Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-08-04.
^ Rusch, Bob (1994). in Ron Wynn: All Music Guide to Jazz, M. Erlewine, V. Bogdanov, 1st ed., All Music Guide (in English), San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books, 197. ISBN 0-87930-308-5.
^ Snyder, Matt (December 1997). An Interview with Bobby Previte (HTML) (English). 5/4 Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-01-12. Retrieved on 2007-08-04.
^ Cook, Richard; Brian Morton [1992] (2006). "Miles Davis", The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, 8th ed., The Penguin Guide to Jazz (in English), New York: Penguin, p. 327. ISBN 0-141-02327-9.
^ Merlin, Enrico (1999). Slow Brew (HTML) (English). Audiomedia. AM Publishing Ltd.. Archived from the original on 2005-10-01. Retrieved on 2007-08-07.
^ a b c Tanner, Paul O. W.; Maurice Gerow, David W. Megill [1964] (1988). "Crossover - Fusion", Jazz, 6th ed. (in English), Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown, College Division, pp. 135-136. ISBN 0-697-03663-4.
^ Losin, Peter. Session Details (English). Miles Ahead. Retrieved on 2007-08-04. “October 26, 1969… 'Bitches Brew'… 'Miles Runs the Voodoo Down'… 'Spanish Key'”


 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 12:54 PM
hell i dont know about 'selling out' one bit because the album is (basically) new to me (past five years anway).

its my 2nd favorite Miles album, after a Tribute to Jack Johnson. (which, by rights - was probably more commerical than Bitches Brew)

still beats most contemporary music with a stick, sell out or not

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 12:54 PM
One of the most amazing pieces of music, art and writing ever produced.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 12:59 PM
I'm gonna have to dig out my copy and re-visit this profound, powerful, baffling, and a bit disturbing piece. After I first bought it, it stayed in my CD player for about a week or two before I had to put it away and forget about it for a while.... It was just way too "heavy" for me keep in any kind of regular rotation. I think I'm in the right mindest now to go back and discover it all over again...
 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 02:04 PM
quote:
One of the most amazing pieces of music, art and writing ever produced.


freaking beautiful...

I still have my faithfull lp from when it first came out - the cover art is breathtaking and the vinyl sounds better than the disc...

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 02:17 PM
It's a "disjointed" album IMHO, but there are points when the band indeed runs the "voodoo down".

I actually prefer his live album, Live At the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time. I really like the presence of Shorter on these discs, & how Miles responds.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 02:51 PM
I've got the box...alt. versions and outtakes. This recording along with Love Supreme and the first Mahavisnu recording The Inner Mounting Flame were my entre to jazz, although I really don't listen to fusion much nowdays.

My faves from Miles at this juncture are the two classic quintets, with #2 the heavyweight champs. The box of the second quintet has all the studio records and is too gone. Recently listened to it all and it'll just send you. Some "new" stuff found recently from the #2 quintet as well.

From there I started in on all the Wayne Shorter Blue Note records from the "60's...man.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 03:16 PM
"Bitch'sBrew" is both sacrilege and influential, spawning the combination between experimental jazz and rock music that was going to happen anyway. There are purists in many genres of music, and that battle happens often. While blues musicians accepted that many other forms of music were built upon the blues and tended to accept whatever gig they could get, jazz musicians were always holding their nose up to rock music, for instance. Here in Cincinnati in the 1940's, 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's we had a legendary jazz radio station called WNOP. Think about it, an AM radio station that broadcast jazz all day long from a boat on the Newport, Kentucky side of the Ohio River. The station featured equally legendary jazz DJ's such as Oscar Treadwell and Leo Underhill. Anway, one day a DJ named Bob Nave was playing some songs by a jazz musician, I can't remember who it was, that recorded an album of Beatles songs, and Nave said the equivalent of, "You'll never hear the members of the Beatles play the song like that, I can tell you." Well, that may be true, but still, it was the Beatles who came up with those magical melodies and song structures. They may not have been musicians of the caliber of the jazz musicians, but an A note is an A note, and when you line them up to form unique melodies, then that is creativity no matter how you look at it. Point being, that was the mindset of the jazz purists of the day.

And, those jazz purists were all over Miles' ass about Bitches Brew. Of course, Miles being Miles, that probably only encouraged him to keep going in that direction.

The bottom line is this- look at the musicians who play on Bitches Brew and follow their career timelines from there. Those guys become the heart of the fusion and contemporary jazz scene and made some amazing music that lasts to this day. Airto's music alone from that era is worth checking out, both his solo stuff as well as his music with wife Flora Purim.

And even now, look at Bitches Brew's influence. Joni Mitchell embraced a lot of those same musicians by the late 1970's, especially on the album I absolutely love, "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter," which featured Joni with Wayne Shorter and Airto from the Bitches Brew sessions, as well as amazing work from the late Jaco Pastorius. Now, last night, 2008, Herbie Hancock records a jazz album of Joni's music called "River: The Joni Mitchell Letters" that features Wayne Shorter and Dave Holland, both of the Bitches Brew sessions, and it amazingly wins the top Grammy Award at last night's show.

It would take a long time, but if somebody were to draw a musical genealogy tree of all the musicians on Bitches Brew, following where their careers went and the music they made from that point on, that would properly showcase the influence of this album.

I'll say it again, with this album happening in 1969-70, it further showcases why the music scene from about 1954 to 1977 was such an amazing and evolutionary and revolutionary experience, and nothing in the last 30 years since then compares. I'm glad that I was there for a lot of it, as there was always a new album somewhere, coming out sooner or later, that was breaking new ground. Jazz, rock, soul, funk, surf, psychedelic, doo wop, fusion, ska, rock steady, reggae, hard rock, metal, southern rock, prog rock, newgrass, country rock, new age, ambient, new wave, music from India and Pakistan was brought to the fore, the beginning of jamband, and at the end of the period, punk - all evolved or began in this incredible musical time period.

DH

[Edited on 2/11/2008 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 03:35 PM
alrighty then............be that way.

The Allman Brothers should play some more Miles Davis stuff.....

that settles it...........they all love it.

Milestones
So What
All Blues

those three would do it for me...........

then invite special guest musicians to come sit in to fill it out and do it justice - you know.

yeah = have Jimmy Cobb come sit in with Jaimoe on All Blues................yeah man!

let Elvin come sit in with Butch on Milestones...........mix it up.

have Jaimoe and Butch play All Blues together > Dreams............

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 03:46 PM
Miles Ahead, always miles ahead of his time

agreed on the hit & miss of BB. I prefer In A Silent Way & On the Corner.

Anyone who digs IASW should check out "Panthalassa", very cool remix of BB / On the Corner & IASW tunes, using the original tracks, not the "DJ remixes" found on another remix of Miles with a similar name.

EAPFP

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 04:52 PM
quote:
alrighty then............be that way.

The Allman Brothers should play some more Miles Davis stuff.....

that settles it...........they all love it.

Milestones
So What
All Blues

those three would do it for me...........

then invite special guest musicians to come sit in to fill it out and do it justice - you know.

yeah = have Jimmy Cobb come sit in with Jaimoe on All Blues................yeah man!

let Elvin come sit in with Butch on Milestones...........mix it up.

have Jaimoe and Butch play All Blues together > Dreams............



I think they played In A Silent Way last Beacon run. Didn't hear it myself, but can only imagine. Are there any IL's with that on it? I didn't see any.

 

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  posted on 2/11/2008 at 05:13 PM
I think some of the jazz purist-types called it a sell-out (even though it didn't sell very well initally) because, in their view, he was pandering to rock n rollers. Which he was definitely reaching out to, especially after doing all those gigs at the Fillmore East and West with bands like Steve Miller, Santana, Grateful Dead, and hanging out with Sly and Jimi.

I've always liked Bitches Brew. But I like most of Miles' stuff, including Tutu. Jack Johnson, In A Silent Way, Kind of Blue, Birth of the Cool--all periods--they're all great to me.

And also, I had a brief but memorable encounter with the great man, and he told me "get the f**k away from me, white boy." That was special. I have now been shined on by both Miles and Jack Bruce in this lifetime!! Not bad....

 
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