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Miles Davis (1926 - 1991)
Lifespan: 1926 - 1991
Related: American music - jazz - bebop - jazz fusion
Bitches Brew (1969) - Miles Davis [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
"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. Even though it sounded like an old-style studio registration of a bunch of guys playing some amazing stuff, large sections of it relied heavily on studio technology to create a fantasy that never was. Miles and his producer, the legendary Teo Macero, used the recording studio in radical new ways, especially in the title track and the opening track, "Pharaoh's Dance".
Miles Davis (May 26, 1926 - September 28, 1991), one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the twentieth century, was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer.
Davis was at the forefront of almost every major development of jazz after the Second World War. He played on some of the important early bebop records, the first cool jazz records were recorded under his name, he was largely responsible for the development of modal jazz, and jazz fusion arose from Davis's bands of the late sixties and early seventies and the musicians who worked with him. Free jazz was the only postwar style hardly affected by Davis, although some musicians from his bands later pursued this style. His recordings, along with the live performances of his many influential bands, were vital in jazz's increased acceptance as music with lasting artistic value. A popularizer as well as an innovator, Davis became famous for both his languid, melodic style and his laconic and at times confrontational personality. As an increasingly well-paid and fashionably-dressed jazz musician, Davis was also a symbol of the music's commercial potential.
Davis was in a line of jazz trumpeters that started with Buddy Bolden and ran through Joe "King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, and Dizzy Gillespie. He has been compared to Duke Ellington as a musical innovator: both were skillful players on their instruments but were not considered technical virtuosos. Ellington's main strength was as a composer and leader of a large band, while Davis had a talent for drawing together talented musicians in small groups and allowing them space to develop. Most of the major figures in postwar jazz played in one of Davis's groups at some point in their career. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_Davis [May 2005]
Miles Davis, Teo Macero and Bitches Brew (1969)
Teo Macero is a jazz saxophonist and record producer.
He began his career as a performer, recording a few albums, and briefly joining Charles Mingus.
Macero found greater fame as a jazz record producer for Columbia Records. He had a long and especially fruitful partnership with Miles Davis.
Recently, Macero returned to performing, playing saxophone on DJ Logic's Project Logic. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teo_Macero [Feb 2005]
Bitches Brew and post-production
Some might argue Teo Macero deserves much of the credit for Bitches Brew. His contributions were sometimes controversial, certainly important, and perhaps invaluable.
There was significant editing done to the recorded music. Short sections were spliced together to create longer pieces, and various effects were applied to the recordings. One source worth quoting at length reports:
"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. Even though it sounded like an old-style studio registration of a bunch of guys playing some amazing stuff, large sections of it relied heavily on studio technology to create a fantasy that never was. Miles and his producer, the legendary 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 loops, tape delays, reverb chambers and echo effects. And, 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 '30s and '40s musique concrete 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."  (http://www.audiomedia.com/archive/features/uk-0599/uk-0599-brew/uk-0599-brew.htm)
This extensive editing was sometimes controversial in jazz circles as purists and detractors argued that jazz should be "spontaneous." But decades earlier trumpeter Louis Armstrong had quickly perceived the photographic nature of the audio recording, becoming the first musician to assemble a band solely for the purpose of recording it live in the studio. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitches_Brew#Post-production [Feb 2005]
Cool jazz is a type of jazz that is understated and subtle, and integrates elements of classical music. It is sometimes referred to as West Coast jazz or West Coast cool, as it was primarily practiced by musicians in the Los Angeles area; however, its popularity and practice was by no means limited to California. The Claude Thornhill Orchestra and Lennie Tristano first recorded cool jazz in the late 1940s. Thornhill's most popular song "Snowfall" is still played today.
Along with the bebop movement developed during the 1940s, the 1950s ushered in a lighter, more romantic style of jazz called "cool." Developed mainly from the perspective of white West Coast jazz musicians, cool jazz combined the melodic and swinging aspects of the earlier swing era with the harmonic and rhythmic developments of bebop. The roots of cool jazz can be traced back to various earlier styles, as well as a direction that trumpet player Miles Davis pursued during the late 1940s. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_jazz [May 2005]
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