Thursday, December 14, 2006

177. Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1970)

Track Listing

1. Pharaoh's Dance
2. Bitches Brew
3. Spanish Key
4. John McLaughlin
5. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down
6. Sanctuary


I am writing this review four hours earlier than I usually do, and that is simply because I can't listen to this album anymore. I am probably too dumb to appreciate it, I admit it, I am stupid and uncultured, but make it stop, please! But then I think... they didn't even bother with the apostrophe in the title, so am I the stupid one?

Okay, it isn't THAT bad, my ears aren't really bleeding, but I'd take Trout Mask Replica any day over this. It sounds pretentious, incredibly so. And even tough I recognise the originality of using electronic stuff on a Jazz album it is not enough to make me like this. Zappa did it MUCH better in Hot Rats so fuck Davis.

Some times there is some respite when the notes seem to come together. And this is sad because I really like Miles before this but this is just painful. I was just on the Amazon site and it has 5 stars, everyone loves it, then again its one of those albums that if you buy it it's because you like it already, if you are an avant-garde Jazz poseur you are never going to admit that it just makes you wanna vomit anyway so 5 stars it is. It does grow on you after a while, just like Chinese water torture grows on you.

What a pile of wank. Stream it from Napster or buy it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Sacrifice
2. Spanish Key
3. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down
4. John McLaughlin

Final Grade



Bitches Brew... missing a fucking apostrophe:

From Wikipedia:

Bitches Brew was a turning point in modern jazz. Davis had already spearheaded two major jazz movements – cool and modal jazz – and was about to initiate another major change (the album's cover also sports the phrase "Directions In Music By Miles Davis" above the title.)

It is perhaps difficult for today's audience to realize how astonishing it was in 1970 to have a major label – Columbia Records – release a major album by an important jazz artist with the term "bitches" in its title. The use of the word on the album cover may be a factor in certain fans' and critics' dismissive or even hostile responses to the record.

The Mati Klarwein painting featured on the cover – though striking and memorable – was perhaps an artifact of the "psychedelic" era, and may demonstrate Davis's desire to reach a different audience; for example, Klarwein's work is also prominently featured on the cover art of Santana's 1970 Abraxas, released by the same label.

The "Who's Who" level of musicianship among the participants involved in the Bitches Brew recording is indicative of the excellence demanded and the collaborative organizational abilities of Miles Davis. Some critics at the time characterized this music as simply obtuse and "outside", which recalls Duke Ellington's description of Davis as "the Picasso of jazz."


Tom Meade said...

I take issue with this review! Bitches Brew is brilliant (also, a plural and not a genitive). I'm not really sure why you dislike it so much as it's pretty accessible for a "proper"jazz album.

And "Pharoah's Dance" is one of the most swinging things Davis was ever associated with.

Francisco Silva said...

I don't know why, I actually really like Miles before this album. This just didn't work for me, it felt failed in its attempt to renew Jazz, as I said I'd rather listen to ' Trout Mask Replica' which is usually considered one of the most challenging albums than this, I find this more challenging.

So is the album meant to mean that Bitches do brews and not what it is a brew made by bitches?

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore this album. When I first heard it, it did my head in. I just couldn't connect with it. There was too much chaos, far too random. I'm older now and I find this to be one of the most exciting, beautiful and exhilarating works ever committed to vinyl. The chaos is actually magical, because somehow it never reaches the point at which structure is lost altogether. There is a kind of uncertainty and despite listening to it time and time again the excitement of that uncertainty never diminishes.