Bitches Brew

Going to look at some music this week.

Bitches Brew is one of the all time great albums ever made and  probably the equal of either Blonde on Blonde or The White Album at at time when naming the greatest double albums meant something. In the late 60’s double albums were still not common and were a sign of musical ambition, of breaking away from the demands of  commercial radio, of attempting to take things to a new level. (Ironically, it was Dylan’s 1970, Self Portrait, that served up the idea that double albums could also be a disaster).

The line up of  musicians for Bitches Brew includes Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, John McLaughlin, Teo Macero, Lenny White, Jack DeJohnette, all of whom went on to have influential careers. It’s a mind blowing  team, the likes of which may never be gathered in such a storm of creativity again.

From Wiki

Bitches Brew is a studio double album by jazz musician Miles Davis, released in April 1970 onColumbia Records. The album continued his experimentation with electric instruments previously featured on his critically acclaimed In a Silent Way album. With the use of these instruments, such as the electric piano and guitar, Davis rejected traditional jazz rhythms in favor of a looser,rock-influenced improvisational style.

On Production

Bitches Brew also pioneered the application of the studio as a musical instrument, featuring stacks of edits and studio effects that were an integral part of the music. Miles and his producer, Teo Macero, used the recording studio in radical new ways, especially in the title track and the opening track, “Pharaoh’s Dance”. There were many special effects, like tape loopstape delaysreverb chambers and echo effects. Through intensive tape editing, Macero concocted many totally new musical structures that were later imitated by the band in live concerts. Macero, who has a classical education and was most likely inspired by the 1930s and 1940s musique concrète experiments, used tape editing as a form of arranging and composition.

“Pharaoh’s Dance” contains 19 edits – its famous stop-start opening is entirely constructed in the studio, using repeat loops of certain sections. Later on in the track there are several micro-edits: for example, a one-second-long fragment that first appears at 8:39 is repeated five times between 8:54 and 8:59. The title track contains 15 edits, again with several short tape loops of, in this case, five seconds (at 3:01, 3:07 and 3:12). Therefore, Bitches Brew not only became a controversial classic of musical innovation, it also became renowned for its pioneering use of studio technology.[4]

Bitches Brew

Really good article with the musicians talking about the making of Bitches Brew

 

 

 

 

 

 

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