Miles Davis

(Credit: Getty/Bloomsbury Publishing)

In an era awash in commodified violence and gore — death metal and dark industrial, serial killer studies, Headline News Network, embedded war reporters — the opening seconds of Miles Davis’s album, “Bitches Brew,” remain the single most ominous thing in the infinite man-years of experience and consumption that pop culture has produced.

LP 1, Side A, Track 1: “Pharaoh’s Dance.” The first sound is Jack DeJohnette, one of two drummers, coming out of the right channel, keeping a quiet, insistent beat with quarter-notes on the snare and eighth-notes on the hi-hat. A quick bass drum rhythm — still quiet — near the end of two bars announces Chick Corea’s entrance on the electric piano. Also in the right channel, Chick is one of three keyboard players on the track (still waiting to enter are Larry Young in the middle and Joe Zawinul in the left channel). He’s playing a short, repeated fragment that might turn into a longer melody if the music were given enough time to develop.

But that doesn’t happen. Bennie Maupin’s bass clarinet and the electric guitar of John McLaughlin quickly join in with their own insistent repetitions. Lenny White taps his hi-hat in the left …read more

Source:: Salon – Entertainment

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