Dec 23, 2005
One Jew's Point of View Volume 1
Happy Belated Chanukah Everybody!!!!
Oy! I figured I'd get off my arse and start writing what the hell I want. Does it matter, of course not. It's your opinion doesn't count anyway. Anyhoo, fellow Jews, on to the reviews of my favorite albums irrespective of genre, although it'll mostly be on jazz.
MILES DAVIS - BITCHES BREW
Miles Davis was at a crossroads in the late 1960s. He had been playing your standard bop with his regular working group of Herbie Hancock (piano), Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums). He had been playing similar type of music since he broke in the biz in the late 40s. Outside of music he was known to be a dick. Some guy who kinda did his own thing and didn't really like listening to authority. The Man, if you will.
This group he was with was probably the most popular Jazz group around. The four other members of his group are certified legends and the music he made with them was no less than fantastic. But I guess there comes when you get tired of the routine. Playing the same kind of songs for the same audience night in and night out. Beginning in say 1967, his music was getting away from bop and getting into avant garde territory. Herbie Hancock and the rest of the guys were more than up to the challenge and made some good albums namely Nefertiti, Filles de Kilamanjaro, and Miles in the Sky between 1967 and 1969.
Nearing the end of the sixties, my fellow meshugenahs, Miles was getting into Jimi Hendrix & James Brown and was fascinated by the way their music was reaching the masses. Miles, being the musical genius he was, wanted to incorporate that sound into his music. You might run across a lot of comments on the fact that Miles Davis was a sellout by changing the direction of the music. In this Jew's opinion, that is utter bullshit. People like Miles Davis don't come along very often with ideas to make music with different elements. He decided since the face of music was changing so it was time for him to change.
Out vith tha old and in vith tha new. He assembled a new 13-piece band that was gonna tap in to elements of funk and rock. Wayne Shorter stuck around with Miles and switched to soprano saxophone. You know, the same instrument that faggot Kenny G plays. The band included three players who would use a relatively new instrument on the scene - the Fender Rhodes Electric Piano. The electric piano had a mellow tone and kind of glided over the other instruments. The three players were Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, and Larry Young.
Chick Corea was an established sideman and a strong composer with various bands in the 60s. He also holds the distinction of being one of the most ugliest people on Earth. I mean he's right up there with KRS-One.
Joe Zawinul was a member of a group headed by popular Alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. As an aside, Cannonball played with Miles in the late 1950s when his group also included John Coltrane. Zawinul has the special distinction of the funkiest Austrian known to man who loves black women. He later formed Fusion supergroup Weather Report with the aforementioned Wayne Shorter.
Larry Young was known as the John Coltrane of the Organ. He was one of those people that was making records when he was about 18 or 19. If you ever get a chance to buy or download some music, give Larry Young a try. He released some great avant garde organ combo albums for Blue Note Records between 1964 and 1969. To really grasp how good he was, give a listen to another organist named Jimmy Smith and compare the two.
He added a British guitarist named John McLaughlin to give the music that rock sound. John McLaughlin was a good friend of Jack Bruce, of Cream fame. In the 70s, he formed the Mahavishnu Orchestra and became buddy buddy with Carlos Santana. He is the ultimate fusion guitarist.
OK enough of the history. The music is quite long indeed (kinda like this blog). The first disc only has two songs but they each clock in at over 19 minutes. The two songs , Pharoah's Dance and Bitches Brew, are more musical suites than anything else. Pharoah's Dance is more of a peaceful train journey that kind of starts and stops at various intervals. Bitches Brew has a dark tone with the electric pianos and the trumpet of Miles Davis the driving force. Miles' trumpet stabs are kind of like screeches that give the song a strong force.
The second disc includes the songs Spanish Key, John McLaughlin, Miles Runs the Voodoo Down, and Sanctuary. Spanish Key has both a mood of madness and happiness all at once, you'll notice this as Miles' trumpet solo ends. John McLaughlin is for the aforementioned guitarists. This is pretty much a riff that he seems to explore with Miles sitting this one out. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down is all Miles with a solo that's pretty damn killer. Finally Sanctuary is the most mellow song off the album. It is kind of the like the day turning into night. Not as loud as most of the other songs in the album and keeps a theme that could possibly put you to sleep. You would never know when that song will end.
I think I've done enough rambling, but there are more Jew's points of views from this Jewy Jewenstein. Definitely pick this up or download it.