Happy Anniversary, Bitches Brew

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of Bitches Brew. It is one of the seminal albums that shaped Western music culture in the second half of the 20th century, dividing it into a ‘time before’ and a ‘time after’. It crossed musical boundaries and influenced musicians of all music traditions. It gave rise to a whole new genre of music: jazz-rock.” says Wikipedia

I still remember in 1970 listening to Bitches Brew with my father. Little did I know it was a turning point in modern jazz.  I simply thought of it as  one on one time with Daddy and we were both being really cool. The cover of the album caught my attention. It was vinyl and it was big. The artwork was eye-catching. Mati Klarwein created this artwork for Bitches Brew’s gatefold cover. What was inside of this huge cover has stuck with me forever. I love fusion and modern jazz to this day. There is probably a little rock and pop in my soul as well.

Bitches Brew was recorded in August 1969 with a host of players that have since become legendary. Players from these Miles Davis sessions went on to form some of the now-legendary bands in modern jazz fusion.  Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Airto Moreira formed Weather Report; Herbie Hancock and Bennie Maupin set up the Mwandishi Band; John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham developed the Mahavishnu Orchestra; Chick Corea and Lenny White started Return To Forever. Dave Holland, Harvey Brooks, Jack DeJohnette and Don Alias contributed greatly. Liner notes are sketchy as to who play when, but in total it is amazing. To top it off, Bitches Brew was  a commercial success. It went gold within months of it’s release.

It sparked controversy at a time in history when controversy was the word of any given day.  The sounds heard on Bitches Brew were part of the progression in my life and independence.  I was at that “age” and Bitches Brew reflected it.  One critic wrote that "Davis drew a line in the sand that some jazz fans have never crossed, or even forgiven Davis for drawing."Bennie Maupin, is known on the Bitches Brew project for his use of the bass clarinet. In an interview on the site, The Last Miles, Maupin gives an interesting and detailed account of the project. 

It is amazing how I remember Bitches Brew. It holds prominent real estate on my IPod today and gets play at home as well. Happy Anniversary, Bitches Brew. Time well spent.

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