MILES DAVIS – Bitches Brew
Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew on numbered limited edition 180-gram double LP
Monumental 1970 double album is signpost for jazz fusion: psychedelic record still sounds ahead of its time more than 40 years later!
Listen to This. As the original working title for Bitches Brew, the instruction and invitation resonates to this day as the best way to approach a record that shattered conventions, altered music history, and, more than 40 years later, still sounds far ahead of its time. The aural Mount Rushmore of jazz fusion, Bitches Brew is rightly ranked by virtually every significant press outlet among the 100 greatest albums ever made in any genre. Sewn together with vibrant colors, voodoo textures, and ethereal moods, the 1970 landmark emerges with supreme detail and nonpareil feeling.
Davis conceived Bitches Brew by having the musicians stand in a semi-circle, where he pointed at them with vague directions for tempo, solos, and cues. The collective improvisation and interplay spawned a galaxy of melodies and grooves that were later spliced together by producer Ted Macero. Here, these distinct creations take shape with utmost realism. Compositions stretch across jet-black backgrounds and paint abstract canvasses on par with those of Axis: Bold As Love and Abraxas. Juxtaposed percussion, loose jams, and melodic segues explode with impressionistic verve.
Gathering a Hall of Fame-worthy lineup of musicians and tweaking it according to his desires, Davis follows through on his idea to “put together the greatest rock and roll band you ever heard” on Bitches Brew. Central to his proposition is the presence of two (and sometimes three) drummers and two bassists, a tactical move that thrusts rhythms into a central focus. Akin to the futuristic album cover art, the drum-driven suites head toward distant universes and uncharted territories-at once hypnotizing and grooving, charting maverick adventures with quixotic rock, funk, and R&B elements.
Conceptually, Davis described Bitches Brew as “a novel without words” and “an incredible journey of pain, joy, sorrow, hate, passion, and love.” The vast psychedelic expanses of warped echoes, liquid reverb, and tape loops confirm such ambitious contrasts of light and dark, fear and hope. Yet the most absolute characteristic of this watershed effort lies in how it resists definitive interpretation and encourages free thought-the very principles with which Davis conceived the everlasting beauty and fascination that is Bitches Brew.
All the composer would else likely want for open-minded listeners is for them to hear it at its full potential.
1. Pharaoh’s Dance
2. Bitches Brew
3. Spanish Key
4. John McLaughlin
5. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down