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Miles Davis - Bitches Brew CD (album) cover


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.25 | 641 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Though I adore more tamer and romantic classic releases of Miles Davis, I have found most enjoyment from this epic fusion record. I based on my own smaller knowledge of his recordings, I believe "Bitches Brew" would be the album fitting most smoothly to psychedelic jazzy fusion rock context, and thus be recommendable album also for the space cadets. Possible arguments for this feelings I have gathered are the emphasis on John McLaughlin's recognizable electric guitar licks, which unite to electric piano lines and dance on rhythm from drums assaulted by Jack DeJohnette along with Lenny White and Charles Alias, these elements creating the most dominant sonic texture of the album, following the trumpet fiercely leading the way on pastures of mutual innovation. Mati Klarwein's visionary painting on the gatefold album covers set the tone for the magic conjured from hallucinatory compositions, which are edited from open improvisation sessions, utilizing the both methods of freeform playing and controlled post production in creation of phantasmal and unique tonal entities. I remember I was first slightly troubled by the edits, possibly as I had been immersed to King Crimson's live improvisations quite heavily during the time of discovering this record, but understood quite fast the opportunities of this approach. The unedited live flow from these musicians are also presented on film recordings of "Isle of Wight 1970", so I could ensure "they didn't edit bad moments out as they can't play together smoothly", heh.

The first album brews ingredients for the hypnotics with two LP side-long compositions, "Pharaoh's Dance" staying on steady rhythm basis, allowing the melodic instruments to prowl the surrounding dense jungle with amazement during the marathon run to the heart of mystical voodoo sphere's. This magical sensation explodes for me most strongly on the other side's title track, having three "conjuration" themes in the start, middle and on conclusion. On these motifs the rhythmic tensions of bass are released by rich percussions, the descending element bringing me an association of some sort of tribal casting of bones ritual, the spell being realized from screaming trumpet lines of Miles. In the middle of these open evocation sequences lie long tales of most enjoyable lounging on pulsing beats and explorations of sounds. The second LP rolls open with one of the most catchy rhythms I have ever hear, "Spanish Key" repeating it's call relentlessly for the bass clarinet and piano's call, waiting for the power increase from impressive rhythm culmination peaks, turning twice the flow of this wonderful impressionistic sound river. John McLaughlin has been honoured with one track bearing his name, and in my opinion not without unjustified merits. The final LP side has two songs, Miles running the Voodoo down with cautious approach, possibly wise when dealing with them magick powerz. The supernatural forces tamed, the record concludes to "Sanctuary", a more soothing visit to more traditional calming jazzy moments with Miles' trumpet's familiar melodic calls. In addition of the Japanese vinyl reissue I got chance to listen the CD version from my friend, and the featured bonus track "Feio" is quite fun atonal floating in abstract sound scenarios, but doesn't appear crucial for the musical experience from the original double album, maybe extending the chill out recovering from the vigorous mythical electronic fusion trip from its own part.

I think one proof for Miles Davis music's universality is the fact that all people which I have shared this record have liked it, even though improvised surreal music wouldn't be part of their own listening preferences. Though I adore the earlier recordings of Miles Davis and his 1960's quiet cool tones, I still return to this aggressive double album of spiritual conjurations most often, I would recommend it for anybody browsing these web pages for some good quality psychedelic music experiences.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 5/5 |


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