Miles Davis` “Bitches Brew” Sessions Begin Today-August 19, 1969!

August 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Music

Today marks the day (in 1969) when Miles Davis and friends began their studio sessions for the landmark double record, Bitches Brew. These experimental sessions occurred over a three day span (August 19, 20, and 21st, 1969) at Columbia`s 30th Street Studio. The very face of Jazz changed with this record; it becomes electrified and assumes many of the characteristics of Rock.

Bitches Brew is often credited as being the first Jazz/Rock record and is considered to be a beginning point for the Jazz/Rock Fusion Movement, that would take flight in the Mid-Seventies. I only have one song for now, John McLaughlin, which is a mere 4 minutes, 23 seconds long. There are so many things about this record that are innovative, but one notable characteristic is use of an expanded rhythm section.

Miles employs 2 bassists, 2 or 3 drummers, 3 electric piano players and an added percussionist. The producer, Teo Macero, used many editing tricks also, when the mix-down was happening, splicing the tape to create new textures and structure. The opening track, Pharoah`s Dance, is usually cited in this regard. And check out the cover art, done by Mati Klarwein. We will definitely need to add this classic title to our collection. *(source-Wikipedia)

Is Rock/Jazz an Oxymoron, Or Not?

May 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

john-mcWhen I was growing up I always believed that Rock and Jazz were two completely different forms of music. This assumption was shattered when the two forms began to merge in the late 1960s. Three bands, Electric Flag, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Chicago Transit Authority were the pioneers of this change. Some jazz devices were employed, yet traditional pop arrangements with the horn section were still used, especially with the last two bands. Nonetheless, some common ground was established between Jazz and Rock.

This is a phenomenon that I never thought could be possible! To clear up the foggy evolution of Jazz/Rock, I have been reading “Jazz Rock” by Robert Palmer, which does a good job of summarizing the emerging milestones of this unusual hybrid. The quintessential fact in this timeline of Jazz/Rock was the release of “Bitches Brew” by Miles Davis in 1969. “Brew” had featured the stunning guitar work of John McLaughlin, who soon became the Megastar of this new form.

Being a ‘Rock Purist’ as I was and all, back in the good old days, I was reluctant to embrace this new expression initially. With the release of “The Inner Mounting Flame” (John McLaughlin) however, I started to convert, and from clever coaxing from a friend who found a spiritual catharsis through perpetual rotation of this record, I too saw the ‘inner light’! McLaughlin`s masterful improvisation seemed to lift you out of the moment, and lead you to a Higher Power. John`s the Pied Piper of JR!

Before I float off on a cloud of bewilderment, I thought I`d ask you one question. A British rock guitar virtuoso issued a landmark ‘fusion’ record in 1975. What is the name of the album and artist (this is my favorite JR record) ?

http://www.classicbands.com/electricflag.html