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Miles Davis - The Complete On the Corner Sessions CD (album) cover


Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars Now the truth can finally be told: Miles Davis was actually German.

Okay, maybe not. But any fan of early '70s Krautrock will hear a definite connection between these 'On the Corner' sessions and the ethno-kosmiche improvisations of CAN, circa 'Tago Mago' and 'Ege Bamyasi'. Both share the same rhythmic drive and relentless 'shamanic funk' (borrowing a phrase from the always quotable Julian Cope), here filtered through what might be described as a more streetwise American perspective, and with all the history of Davis' long, groundbreaking career behind it.

The music here comprises the bulk of material heard on the albums 'On the Corner' (included in its entirety), 'Get Up With It', and 'Big Fun'. But a large part of these six total CDs has never been released, although certain themes will be familiar to fans of Davis' concert repertoire from the time. The entire set can almost be considered the studio equivalent of the same uncompromising musical grooves heard on 'Agharta', 'Pangaea', and 'Dark Magus', his trilogy (likewise six discs altogether) of ferocious live albums from the mid-1970s.

How ahead of its time was the 1972 'On the Corner' album? After more than thirty years (at this writing) its influence is only beginning to be appreciated. And hearing the unedited tapes, in more or less chronological order, is nothing less than a revelation. These raw sessions put the achievement of the finished 'On the Corner' in a more positive light, not only illuminating an often maligned and misunderstood album, but also clarifying Davis' entire career trajectory post-'Bitches Brew'.

But did he really imagine this music would have the same commercial appeal as James Brown or Sly Stone? The completed 'On the Corner' was as far away from the Pop and Rock mainstream as the classical avant-garde experiments of Karlheinz Stockhausen, the album's other obvious influence (and another German, please take note). The music here is obviously no longer Jazz, but neither is it Rock, or Jazz-Rock, or any other kind of Fusion: Davis was inventing genres, not combining them.

Over the course of six full discs, and nearly seven total hours of music, you can expect to hear a few meandering improvisations (on Disc Five in particular). But let's face it: listening to Miles Davis jamming is always a privilege, no matter how unstructured the performances might be. This box set will demand a major investment of your time, attention and money. But nobody claiming to be a fan of electric Miles can afford to be without it.

Report this review (#243367)
Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Complete on the Corner Sessions is a fantastic compilation of all Miles Davis session recorded between 1972 and 1975. Part of this music was originally released on albums like On The Corner, Big Fun and Get Up With It but most of the material on this compilation is completely new. All the sessions are presented in the chronological order (except of the last CD with sessions from 1972).

You can find everything here: avant-garde, funk, jazz rock, krautrock, African music and finally fantastic, mesmerizing improvisations. You can find here instruments like electric sitar, congas and tablas but also fantastic musicians like: Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Henderson, Al Foster and many others. On some parts you can find crazy saxophone music similar to Ian McDonald's improvisations. Nothing more to say here. This music is out of any classifications.

Together with the music you will get a booklet (over 100 pages) with many interesting information and photos from the sessions and concerts.

You will never be bored with this music. Over 6 hours of fantastic material.

Report this review (#264763)
Posted Sunday, February 7, 2010 | Review Permalink

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