How Miles Davis plugged in and transformed jazz ... all over again
(Because I listen a lot, in a very strange life time, Miles' Bitches Brew... pure genius, changing the face of music for ever)...
Between 1945, when he hustled his way on to New York's new bebop scene as Charlie Parker's teenage trumpeter, and the turbulent year of 1968, Miles Davis couldn't help being hip. Though tentative in the Parker days, he had a characteristically soft sound and coolly-timed patience of phrasing that became steadily more eloquent and assured through the 1950s and 60s, despite big changes in the musical structures around him.
From his personal stylistic breakthrough at 23 in 1949, when he was involved in the gracefully orchestral Birth of the Cool sessions, through the mid-50s years in a devastating quintet with the young John Coltrane, up to 1959's meditative, scale-based Kind of Blue and then the formation of another groundbreaking five-piece with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis was always at the cutting-edge of creative American music.
But by 1968, Davis was into his 40s, and young audiences were listening to Motown soul and funk, to James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone - not to unplugged contemporary jazz, however good it was. Davis was already edging his way toward a funkier sound within the edgy jazz setting of the Hancock/Shorter group. He was beginning to introduce the sound of the Fender Rhodes piano, and then the electric guitar, first with Joe Beck and then George Benson. In spring 1968, the quintet and Benson quietly slipped this revealing track into the otherwise freebop setting that had produced such classic mid-period Davis albums as ESP and Sorcerer. (The Guardian, TBC Here)