Song Of The Day - 28 Jan 2008: Bitches Brew


29 jan. 2008, 5h14m

Miles Davis / "Bitches Brew" / Bitches Brew (2) / Apr 1970

Artist: Miles Davis
Original Album: Bitches Brew
Track: Bitches Brew

Every once in awhile, I just need to do an all-night extended set of extended songs. Tonight is one of those nights: we're spinning no song less than 10 minutes in length, and covering just 47 songs in 12 solid hours. Figures Last is hiccuping tonight, so I don't get the satisfaction of seeing them scroll through the profile, but at least the Last servers have a sense of humor: recent tracks crapped out after The Doors' "The End" about an hour into the set a few minutes after 7PM (figures...midnight London...)

ANYWAY...tonight's set started with today's SotD. Earlier this month I briefly mentioned Bitches Brew as a comment in passing on , and left it as "an album to visit some other time." So I figured today's the day / tonight's the night.

I have to say up front that I know precious little about the jazz universe, and especially not the and of Miles' earlier period. I was in a jazz ensemble in high school, but we really stuck to and more than anything - lots of Count Basie - or else some of the late 70s and early 80s - stuff such as Spyro Gyra or typical school ensemble stuff like Mark Taylor's Brass Machine.

It was my exposure to jazz fusion at that time that provided me with my first glimpses of Miles' electric period from the late 60s and 70s. As I grew into Jimi Hendrix over the years and gained an appreciation for other influential contemporaries that provided inspiration to Miles, such as James Brown, I kept seeing Miles' name pop up as a cornerstone of the scene they were all inhabiting concurrently. It wasn't until exploring other artists who followed Miles' pioneering foundation of that I came to realize what a highly influential artist he was not only within the jazz universe, but on other scenes and rock worlds.

I think it's only natural - and probably was inevitable - that I would eventually gravitate toward exploring this era of Miles' work because I was born during the heyday of that cross-pollination of jazz and rock, which may also explain why I always have been such a huge fan of progressive ___(fill in the blank)___. And that critical era was nothing if not progressive, Miles being such a key figure - perhaps the key, central figure - in pushing the frontier and assimilating all those electric components in partnership with all those great partners: Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette, and - especially interesting to me - the late Joe Zawinul (who just died this past September).

My "study habits" in the world of music have always led me to investigate at least the key works of the great artists in any rock and rock-related genre: listen to the complete albums, read the liner notes, the bios, what other artists have to say about them. Even if it's outside the realm of hard rock/metal and my typical range of core interests. What clinched it for me was Miles' induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. I had no choice but to follow up, first with Kind of Blue, but more satisfyingly with Bitches Brew. (Besides, can you ignore such an aptly-titled work forever?)

In truth, I only know what I know about the album and its sessions from the 1998 The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions - but what a damn fine collection that is. One that you owe it to yourself to check out if you have an inkling to explore roots...real roots. And you get so much more than even what the expanded edition of the album provides.

Other personally-favorable highlights from this work in total: Pharaoh's Dance, Spanish Key, Miles Runs the Voodoo Down, Great Expectations, Lonely Fire, Recollections.

\m/ (`°_°´) \m/


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