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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Miles Davis

Bitches Brew Live (Columbia Legacy)

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If Bitches Brew (1969) was a significant turning point in jazz, then half of the material gathered on Bitches BrewLive was the signpost on the way. Six weeks before recording the album that opened the gate to jazz-rock fusion, Miles Davis gave his ideas a run through at the Newport Jazz Festival. Responding to changing times, the 1969 event included Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull along with Art Blakey and Dave Brubeck. Davis was determined to transcend them all.

With Chick Corea (electric piano), Dave Holland (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums) generating a noisy yet cool, futuristic funk environment, Davis pushed through the boundaries between rock, jazz and R&B until they dissolved into electric sparks and ball lightning. The second half of Bitches Brew Live was recorded the following summer at the Isle of Wight festival, where Davis was the sole jazz emissary to a hippie rock free for all. On that occasion, he played dense and sharply angled music powered by a funky, shifting rhythm and given a dangerously serrated edge lacked by most of the fusion players that tried to follow his lead.
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