Miles Davis ‎– The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions

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Tracklist

Pharaoh's Dance 20:05
Bitches Brew 26:58
Spanish Key 17:32
John McLaughlin 4:22
Miles Runs The Voodoo Down 14:01
Sanctuary 10:56
Great Expectations 13:45
Orange Lady 13:50
Yaphet * 9:39
Corrado * 13:11
Trevere * 5:55
The Big Green Serpent * 3:35
The Little Blue Frog (Alt) * 12:13
The Little Blue Frog (Mst) 9:09
Lonely Fire 21:09
Guinnevere 21:07
Feio * 11:49
Double Image * 8:25
Recollections * 18:54
Take It Or Leave It * 2:13
Double Image 5:52

Versions (6)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
C4K 65570 Miles Davis The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions(4xCD, Comp, RM + Box) Columbia, Legacy C4K 65570 US 1998 Sell This Version
SRCS 8837-40 Miles Davis Bitches Brew - Complete Session(4xCD, Comp, RM + Box) SME Records SRCS 8837-40 Japan 1998 Sell This Version
MQ6-183 Miles Davis The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (August 1969-February 1970)(6xLP, Album, RE + Box, Comp, Ltd) Mosaic Records (2) MQ6-183 US 1998 Sell This Version
AC4K 65570 Miles Davis The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions(4xCD, Comp, Promo, RM + Box) Columbia, Legacy AC4K 65570 US 1998 Sell This Version
COL 516251 2, 5162512001 Miles Davis The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions(4xCD, Comp, RE, RM) Columbia, Legacy COL 516251 2, 5162512001 Europe 2004 Sell This Version
C4K 90924 Miles Davis The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions(4xCD, Comp, RE, RM, Lon) Columbia, Legacy C4K 90924 US 2004 Sell This Version

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karlrichard

karlrichard

August 17, 2008
referencing The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, 4xCD, Comp, RE, RM, COL 516251 2, 5162512001

Having read Ian Carr's definitive biography of this Jazz Icon about a year ago, I managed to acquire most of the records mentioned in this heady and inspiring collection of assumptions, enthusings and facts, which Carr so easily seems to deduce, interrelate, and conclude from all the interviews and hearsay that he had acquired over the many years of meditation on this multitalented musical shaman/musician/musical director/mentor/enigma/artist... And while reading it, I decided to listen to all the releases as and when they appeared in the book. And wow... What a journey it was!

For those who don't know any of Davis' works... One thing should be born in mind when discussing this Jazz Legend. Miles Davis is probably one of the more synonymous names (if not the most synonymous) for all Jazz music. And because of this fact, it probably could be declared that it is thus related to the very essence of what Jazz music is all about. And true enough, I have met plenty of people who despise Jazz music, but yet know that the name Miles Davis is related to Jazz. However, as when a name grows to this level of fame, misrepresentations can occur. When I sometimes discuss Jazz music generaly with others, I have noticed that his name has become a cliche of sorts... People mention it, even though they cannot recall a single album title, or name a single piece of music that he wrote, let alone hum it. And so, as with any cliche, there is the danger that (at least to the uninitiated) an inference might be made, like a common correlation between the artist's work and those of other artists in his niche. A correlation that might possibly denote that one should expect popular and somewhat easily accessible works of Jazz to have been written by this artist. Well... I did only say expect... As here, quite the opposite seems to be the case. Especially for his later works, specifically those that were forged after Sketches of Spain.

According to Carr, Davis had two great creative runs during his lifetime. The first began in 1954 and endured until 1960, the last two years in which Milestones, Porgy And Bess, Kind Of Blue and Sketches Of Spain were all recorded. The second of Davis' creative periods lasted from 1964 to 1970, and again was crowned in the final two years with the likes of Miles In The Sky, In A Silent Way, Live-Evil, Jack Johnson and Bitches Brew... Out of all of these recording (for me, at least) two particular session stands out from all the rest. And one of these is Bitches Brew...

Here the old idea of strings and solos that featured so heavily throughout Davis' former work have been totally jettisoned and now the basic elements are simply Davis' trumpet and the rest of the ensemble... And it the way that these two variables interact that really makes this album stand out.

Bitches Brew is in its own right a master piece of abstracted chromatic melodies and syncopated (sometimes rock driven) rhythms that were woven together by some of the most maverick Jazz session musicians of the time, most of whom had previously served time under Davis' direction with his other projects. Tony Williams, Larry Young, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Dave Holland, Bennie Maupin, Jack DeJohnette, Harvey Brooks, Airto Moreira, Herbie Hancock, Don Alias and Steve Grossman all contributed massively to this work, having being asked by Davis' to simply play freeform for reels and reels of takes on tapes. Harry Brooks recalls, "Miles was recording like the way we would write songs. You know, you just jam until you find something and that becomes part of the song. He would have us play, and we would finish a section and he would say 'Go on, Go on!' and we would just keep playing..."

But perhaps what really distinguishes this album in general from the rest of Davis' other work is the state-of-the-art post-production that was used (something that can clearly still be heard in this release, even though it was recorded in the late 1960s), along with the sheer amount of editing performed to compile it. Reverb chambers, echo effects and tape looping distinguish both the title track and Pharaoh's Dance, the later of which was considered a tour-de-force in editing at the time... Pharaoh's Dance provides some continuity with the previously released In A Silent Way, as it opens with a brisk, shallow beat and some textures from keyboards and guitar. Only the low doodling of the bass clarinet hints at the more ominous storm that is about to break.

While the original release of Bitches Brew is a double-album with a total playing time of just over ninety three minutes, in this new guise it includes an extra 90 minutes of abstractional bliss in the form of completed tracks, none of which pale in comparison to those included on the original release, in musical quality or recording fidelity. All of them blend beautifully into the atmosphere of the original releases vibe, and are mixed to the exact same high standards... I won't go into describing their work outs, as I could never do them justice. But I will say that they are all worth checking out...

And best of all... All the detail of these sessions is included in the beautifully narrated booklet that accompanies this four CD release from Columbia's Legacy imprint, along with a photos of the session, so that you can take a glimpse behind the scenes and begin to understand the complex way in which this album was crafted. All in all a must for any person wanting to explore Davis' later more abstract work...