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Miles Davis - On the Corner CD (album) cover

ON THE CORNER

Miles Davis

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.79 | 64 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This is a hard album for me to rate. It's my favourite Miles album but the last half recycles the best moments of the first half. Ever since the 1950s this man was pushing jazz into new territory. Bitches Brew shocked many jazz fans, but with this album he wanted to shock them even more. More importantly, he wanted to connect with the black kids listening to Sly & The Family Stone and Funkadelic. But the music here is crazier and more avant than anything those two groups ever did.

Besides the strong funk influence, there is also paradoxically an influence from avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. This album was a flop and the critics hated it at the time, but it's gone on to almost legendary status. Like Miles' other studio albums of this era, the editing of producer Teo Macero is very important. What he does was similar to what Can's Holger Czukay(a student of Stockhausen) was also doing at the same time. John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea all appear on this album. By this time, all three were well into their post-Miles careers but stopped by to help out their former boss.

The music here is generally avant-funk-rock with some Indian and electronic influences. The first track has it's own unique sound while the other three are very similar sounding. "On The Corner / New York Girl / Thinkin' One Thing And Doin' Another / Vote For Miles" starts right in the middle of a jam as if someone hit the pause button and then un- paused it to start the album. McLaughlin plays some great guitar on this track. Good sax and lots of percussion. Some synthesizer as well. The majority of this track is based around a two-note bass line. You don't hear Miles' trumpet right away; he comes in later. After awhile you hear some sitar. The drums with a hi-hat pattern gets louder and quiter. The beat and bass line changes a little bit near the end. Sitar and tabla to finish it.

"Black Satin" is my favourite Miles song. It starts with tabla and weird synth noises. It then goes into a complex funky beat and bass line with all sorts of oddball percussion noises and handclaps. This song has an awesome melody done on wah-trumpet throughout. The drums drop out and then come back again. Tabla and sitar to end it. "One And One" starts with the same damn bass line but now it's more wah-wahed. The Christmas bells are more noticeable here. Still very similar to "Black Satin".

"Helen Butte / Mr. Freedom X" again has the same beat/bass line. The trumpet melody reappears but now it's done on sax. Some good sax later on. Eventually the bass changes and the drums lay low. The music almost stops before a weird percussion part. The bass and drums come back. Interesting sitar near the end with the bass playing one note.

The first half of this album is excellent but then it proceeds to carry on where "Black Satin" left off. I wish there was more variation in the second half. This is my personal fave from Miles because I'm not a huge fan of acoustic jazz(don't hate it) and I love me some weird funky sh*t. Apart from Sun Ra, jazz rarely gets weirder than this. This deserves at least 3.5 but I'll bump it up to 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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