Miles Davis
Bitches Brew


5.0
classic

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
June 12th, 2005 | 369 replies


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist


1969 was a big year for Miles Davis. He released two classic albums, "In A Silent Way" and Bitches Brew. In addition to this, he practically invented Jazz-Rock and created a style that countless fusion and funk musicians would continue to draw on.

Credits:

Miles Davis - Trumpet
Chick Corea - Piano
Larry Young Piano
Joe Zawinul Organ, Piano
John McLaughlin - Guitar
Harvey Brooks - Bass, Guitar
Dave Holland - Bass
Wayne Shorter - Soprano Sax
Bennie Maupin - Bass Clarinet
Jack DeJohnette - Drums
Don Alias - Percussion, Conga, Drums
Airto Moreira - Percussion, Cuica
Jimmy Riley - Percussion
Jumma Santos - Percussion, Conga, Shaker
Lenny White - Drums

Not enough can be said about the impact that Bitches Brew has had on music. With it's dark sound and incredible musicians, such as John McLaughlin and Chick Corea (musicians who are incredibly sucessful in their own right), Bitches Brew was the start of fusion jazz. On first listen, Bitches Brew appears to be nothing more than an extended jam session, a mess of keyboards and rhythm section, while Davis' staccato solos sweep between the rest of the band. On further and closer listens, however, Bitches Brew proves to be an expertly constructed piece of work. With each listen, there is always something new to discover. Whether it be Davis' extremely innovative playing, the odd sax solo here and there, the excellent rhythm section or McLaughlin's excellent funk style guitar work, "Bitches Brew" makes more sense with each consecutive listen.

Often accused to being 'too arty', Bitches Brew is still seen as one of the most important and revolutionary albums in jazz. Bitches Brew is an incredibly mysterious album. The sounds created by the lineup (often using 12 or more musicians at once) aren't often heard in jazz and before Bitches Brew's release, had never been heard before. Davis' soloing is nothing short of incredible. Ranging from staccato to that "jump out of your seat" sound heard on the title track, to the smooth and sexy, as a musician, Bitches Brew is certainly one of Davis' finest moments. The drumming, while very much jazz drumming has a large rock influence with it's shuffles and groovy fills. The two basses and keyboards are nothing short of incredible, creating some excellent grooves for Miles and the saxophones to play over. Switching between his funk comping of jazz chords and soloing over the music, John McLaughlin's guitar work is some of the best guitar work ever seen in jazz. Despite both the criticism and hype that Bitches Brew receives, it remains to be one of the most revolutionary, interesting and enjoyable jazz records ever made.

Pros

- A lineup of incredible musicians
- One of the most revolutionary jazz albums of all time
- Astounding replay value

Cons

- A difficult listen: some tracks are incredibly long, even by jazz standards
- Can sound like a mess until the listener "gets it"
- While the fact that this double album has no filler, it is certainly tedious to listen to all the way through

Reccomended Tracks

Pharaoh's Dance
Bitches Brew
Miles Runs The Voodoo Down

FINAL RATING: 5/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Badmoon
June 13th 2005


384 Comments


Very nice review man :thumb:.

I've never been able to get into this album. I like some of the solos and such, but overall I'm not that interested in it.



br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 13th 2005


2125 Comments


Thanks. I've found this album to be rewarding if you're willing to put in the effort. And it takes a lot more effort that almost any other album I've ever listened to.

Med57
Moderator
June 13th 2005


1001 Comments


Excellent album, and good review as well...you're spot on about this being hard to get into, as it really is very dauntingly long (listening to it all in one go can be hard), but it's well worth the effort.

Iai
Emeritus
June 13th 2005


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I've never been able to get into this album. I like some of the solos and such, but overall I'm not that interested in it.

Same.

Give me Porgy & Bess any day.

BlackDeathMetalJazz or really ANYTHING else please-
June 13th 2005


200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Behind A Love Surpreme I'd say this is my favorite Jazz album. I've been waiting for someone to reveiw this for a long time and I'm just glad someone that writes great reveiws as yourself decided to do it. Great reveiw. Great album.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 14th 2005


2125 Comments


Thanks man. I was afraid I wouldn't do it justice, it's a tough one to review.

masada
July 9th 2005


2733 Comments


This has sparked my interest.

Anything that sounds like a mess/is difficult to listen to is welcome in my CD player.


6Stringer
July 12th 2005


12 Comments


Great album and you did a superb job of reviewing it.

Woodstock
August 1st 2005


154 Comments


Good album, but not better than In A Silent Way. Good review.

GuitarULike
August 15th 2005


5 Comments


At first I found this album hard to get into. Its too much like a loose jam session without distinguishing compositions. However over the years something about the overall sound and vibe is starting to appeal to me. Maybe in a few more years time I'll totally love it! So I totally get where the review is coming from.

Jawaharal
October 8th 2005


1832 Comments


It is. I like this one better than kind of blue

DesolationRow
November 10th 2005


833 Comments


Kind of Blue is so much better, IMO. Still a great album, but it's shadowed...

FeralCats
December 6th 2005


9 Comments


This album (and jazz in general) has only recently started fitting with me. I'd say 'Miles Runs the Voodoo down' is the most accessible on this album.

Great review, by the way.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
December 7th 2005


3996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I much prefer this to Kind of Blue. One thing that struck me that Ascension said was that he was turned off by the looser feel, however Kind of Blue is in no way tight jazz and also considering the less distinct tone and recording quality, I feel that album has a looser tone though the music may be more structured in terms of orchestration.

DemBonez
December 8th 2005


1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I understand why this album is so revolutionary, but really, it's an unrefined mess. It's a bunch of jazz musicians not playing jazz, not playing their respective instrument and feeling uncomfortable because of it. It shows. Jack Johnson, Live-Evil, Dark Magus, Agharta, and Pangea are all much better than this. Just because it is Miles modernizing doesn't mean the actual music is all that great.

Werny
March 20th 2006


148 Comments


I'm listening to the first disc. My oh my this is great, it flows so well from one section to the next. This is the only jazz album I've heard other than Kind of Blue (and a 3-disc "The Great Miles Davis" bootleg set) and I'm loving it. It took me a while to get used to the fact that, in this kind of jazz, there's no continuing beat or repetition, every bar is different. But yeah, after that initial awkwardness I realised its greatness.

The Jungler
March 31st 2006


4827 Comments


I've never heard anything off Kind of Blue but the first part of this record is insane

halfdeadhippo
June 4th 2006


52 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

[quote=Ascension4]This is actually my least favorite Miles record. The whole loose feel turns me off after the tighter compositions of his previous efforts, it still is a great, important, and influential, album however. My personal favorite is still Kind of Blue.[/quote]Kind of Blue was just as loose. There were just fewer musicians contributing to the chaos, and only one soloist at a time on Kind of Blue. I've read that Miles preferred to go into the studio with only giving his musicians a few days' notice at most, and just some brief sketches for songs. The only pieces that he performed with "tighter compositions" were either cover tunes or written by other members of his band.

jazzfromhell
June 17th 2006


9 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bitches Brew is my favorite album. Listening to it is like falling into a trance, it's one of those albums that I'll only listen to if I can listen to the whole thing (A Love Supreme, Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Kind of Blue are other examples, in fact, I feel this way for most jazz albums).

Kind of Blue is, as halfdeadhippo said, extremely loose as well. If you look at the lead sheets for the songs, they only have three or so chords each, Miles left everything else for the musicians to come up with. Even Kind of Blue isn't on the level of looseness that he came to in the years between that and fusion, especially on stuff like the Live at the Plugged Nickel set.

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 12th 2006


721 Comments


I prefer this to In A Silent Way.



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