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Miles Davis - Bitches Brew CD (album) cover

BITCHES BREW

Miles Davis

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.27 | 372 ratings

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Man With Hat
2 stars Historical context is everything.

Yes, when this album was first was released I'm sure it was incendiary, controversial, heart stopping, interesting, engrossing, fascinating, and completely out of left field. Unfortunately, in 2009 (when I first heard the album) none of those adjectives seem to apply. I've read many reviews of this album (and Miles' albums in general) and am astounded by the undying praise. All the things people say...powerful, jaw dropping, earth moving, mind exploding, unyielding...and I find that I can not agree with any of these words. The music is so...lifeless, meandering, unfocused, uninteresting. As if it is just occurring in the background, not meant to be focused on, just existing in some form for some time and then stopping. Occasionally, things do get interesting, get worthy of spending time to listen to, but they are soon replaced with something else, usually less interesting. However, for that point, this isn't a complete failure. Pharaoh's Dance is probably the best (or perhaps most interesting) track here. (Maybe its just because its first on the bill when this album can keep my attention.) The inclusion of multiple drummers and bass clarinet, certain gives Bitches Brew some brownie points as well, as I'm a fan of both of those things.

This review may seem alarming. Giving two stars to such an iconic album, a milestone even, may seem blasphemous. But for me, its perplexing. I love jazz, I love avant-garde, I love things that don't have structure, I love improvs, and I love things that just sound strange. This fits most of those criteria. And yet...it falls almost completely flat to my ears. Certainly the players have talent. Some of the biggest names in jazz play on this record. Yet, for me, this talent doesn't shine through enough to give it that certain pizazz, even though I can see the appeal of having all this talent in one place and that same time.

All in all, this is one of the most important albums in jazz. From this historical context, this should be rated alot higher. However, for me, this formula has been done better (by Davis and others) since then. Also, this is a progressive rock website, and this is a jazz album. Progressive jazz to be sure, but still, jazz. For all the reasons given, I must rate this 2 stars. (If this was jazz archives this would be 5 stars, no question.) Miles did it better. Start elsewhere.

Man With Hat | 2/5 |

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