JUST ANOTHER DAY

Bitches Brew

IF YOU think we’re going to talk about fat, ugly bitches, congressmen and senators, no we’re not.
I am not going to say anything about senators Leila de Lima and Franklin Drilon, neither with Cong. Jerry Treñas. Former World Mayor No. 5 Jed Mabilog has enough problems defending himself in the investigations on his alleged connection with the illegal drugs trade. Besides, he has his hands full trying to convince people that his “white mansion” along the Esplanade cost only less than P10 million. It seems that even his “lovely wife” inviting the local media for a tour of the “white mansion” failed to convince his detractors that it only cost as much as an average house. So we’ll just leave him at that.
According to Wikipedia, Bitches Brew is a studio double album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released on March 30, 1970, on Columbia 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.
I first came across Bitches Brew, and Miles Davis for that matter, way back in my university days in the early ‘70s. Those where the “dazed and confused” and heady days of psychedelic rock, where just about everyone wants to “turn on” to something or someone.
We were into Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana and discovering Jazz for the first time was like a breath of fresh air. Now here was music you can “turn on” or get “high” that is totally cool and mellow yet hip.
“Though Bitches Brew was in many ways revolutionary, perhaps its most important innovation was rhythmic. The rhythm section for this recording consists of two bassists (one playing bass guitar, the other double bass), two to three drummers, two to three electric piano players, and a percussionist, all playing at the same time. As Paul Tanner, Maurice Gerow and David Megill explain, “like rock groups, Davis give the rhythm sections a central role in the ensemble’s activities. His use of such a large rhythm section offers the soloists wide but active expanses for their solos.”
Tanner, Gerow and Megill further explain that “The harmonies used in this recording move very slowly and function modally rather than in a more tonal fashion typical of mainstream jazz…The static harmonies and rhythm section’s collective embellishment create a very open arena for improvisation. The musical result flows from basic rock patterns to hard bop textures, and at times, even passages that are more characteristic of free jazz.”
The solo voices heard most prominently on this album are the trumpet and the soprano saxophone, respectively of Miles and Wayne Shorter. Notable also is Bennie Maupin’s ghostly bass clarinet.
Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew album was the forerunner of a genre in Jazz that we know today as “Jazz Fusion” meaning another musical genre was fused with Jazz, in this case Rock.
Miles Davis is the father of “Jazz Fusion.” In fact it is the fusion of Jazz with another genre that produced the early beats of what we know today as “hip hop”. One can say that Miles Davis is the grandfather of “hip hop.”
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Langdon Winner said Bitches Brew showed Davis’ music expanding in “beauty, subtlety and sheer magnificence”, finding it “so rich in its form and substance that it permits and even encourages soaring flights of imagination by anyone who listens.” He concluded that the album would “reward in direct proportion to the depth of your own involvement.”
So get your Bitches Brew CD (if you don’t have one yet it’s about time to have one), turn the lights down low, turn the stereo volume up, have a glass of cold Chablis, better still a bottle and a couple of “Baguio Gold” joints and chill. Of course this is much better done and highly recommended with your “soul mate.” So if you’ll excuse me while “I kiss the sky.”/PN

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