Monday, January 25, 2016


If Charles Mingus was the godfather of punk, what is one to make of '70s-era Miles Davis?  In 1972, when Miles released On The Corner, he completely tossed out every convention of jazz music up to that time, including composition (all the cuts appear to be random snippets of jam sessions), melody, harmony, and technique, and, as explained by Wikipedia, "was scorned by established jazz critics . . . and was one of Davis's worst-selling recordings."

However, the album's street rep "has improved dramatically with the passage of time; it is now widely considered one of Davis's most experimental releases and a strong forerunner of the musical techniques of post-punk, industrial, hip hop, drum and bass, and electronic music."

Reviewing Black Satin in,  Thom Jurek notes, "Though a tabla kicks the tune off, there's a recognizable eight-note melody that runs throughout" and "the groove rides a bit easier -- except for those hand bells shimmering in the background off the beat just enough to make the squares crazy. The respite is short-lived, however. Davis and band move the music way over to the funk side of the street -- though the street funkers thought these cats were too weird with their stranded time signatures and modal fugues that begin and end nowhere and live for the way the riff breaks down into emptiness."

In other words, although Miles ostensibly recorded On The Corner to appeal to urban youth of the time,  he and the band were light years ahead of everybody else and didn't give a fuck what anybody else was thinking.  

No comments:

Post a Comment