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Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007

Miles Davis

The Complete On the Corner Sessions (Columbia Legacy)

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December 13, 2007

Miles Davis was the Picasso of jazz, always pushing forward from one period to another, unwilling to be trapped inside the expectations of his previous accomplishments. With Bitches Brew (1969) he codified the elements of what became jazz-rock fusion. With the albums he recorded from 1972 through 1974—On the Corner, Big Fun and Get Up With It—the ice-cool trumpeter moved on into a percussive ensemble sound, minimizing solos and stressing the coherence of a tight band playing in the same groove.

Collected in an elaborate six-disc set with extensive jacket notes, The Complete On the Corner Sessions brings together everything from that era, released and previously unissued. It documents Davis in an astringent mood, venturesome yet rootsy, drawing from the deepest sources of jazz in blues and African polyrhythms for excursions into artful funk. Also encouraged by the looping repetitions of German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and Indian classical music, Davis drew from a palette richer than anything imagined by his inspiration-in-funk, James Brown.

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