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


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.72 | 15 ratings

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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.

Neu!mann | 5/5 |


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