Miles Davis
Bitches Brew

Miles Davis
The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions
Aug. 1969 – Feb. 1970

By Michael Cuscuna
After two February 1969 sessions, one of which produced the ground-breaking “In A Silent Way”, Miles stayed out of the studio for six months. A great deal had happened to Miles Davis’s ever-evolving music in that short time. The most important single factor might have been Tony Williams’s departure and Jack DeJohnette’s arrival. With DeJohnette, the quintet began to stretch out more on each tune, playing with an increased intensity.

When Miles went into the studio in August to record what would become “Bitches Brew”, he kept the guitar and multiple keyboards that had developed during his “Silent Way” period. But now he refashioned the front line to consist of trumpet, soprano saxophone and bass clarinet and added additional drums and percussion to the mix.

Over three days in the studio, he fashioned this ensemble into a textural treasure trove. Some of the material, like “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down”, “Spanish Key” and “Sanctuary” had been broken by the quintet that summer. “Bitches Brew”, “John McLaughlin” (which was actually the final section of “Bitches Brew”) and Joe Zawinul’s “Pharaoh’s Dance” were developed in the studio.

Miles Davis insisted that these long tracks come out as a double album. A very uncommercial package by any standard. Yet, somehow “Bitches Brew” took off on its own steam, getting radio play more underground rock stations than jazz stations. Miles Davis soon had the first, and most unlikely, gold album of his career. Soon the quintet added rock palaces to its tour itinerary.

In March 1970, Miles began a series of sessions with a smaller, guitar-dominated group and a new sound that was introduced on the “Jack Johnson” album. Miles was moving so fast that “Bitches Brew” was simultaneously a crowning achievement and a footnote in his career. Its influence, however, is lasting and far reaching.  – Mosaic Records liner notes

Miles Runs The Voodoo Down

Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Joe Zawinul (electric piano – left), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (electric bass), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), Don Alias (drums – left), Jack DeJohnette (drums – right), Jumma Santos (Jim Riley) – congas. – Columbia Studio B, New York City, August 20, 1969

Remembering Miles & Bitches Brew

By Carlos Santana
For all the controversy it provoked and the harsh criticism it encountered from the jazz musical establishment, Bitches Brew was hardly the sudden and unprecedented emergence of a “new Miles” as so many seemed to view it at the time of its release in 1970. The hints, clues, and signposts of change had been plentiful and — at least in retrospect – pretty obvious in that five-year period preceding the release of that album.

The increasing utilization of eighth-note laden rock rhythms by Tony Williams and later Jack DeJohnette, the studio use of electric guitarists Joe Beck and George Benson, as well as the studio introduction of the electric piano, and the gradual stretching of the form and harmonies of standard tunes were all signs that change was in the air and perhaps irrevocably so.

I have always thought that the real significance of Bitches Brew is that it represented the final stage of a long-developing process of change and evolution for Miles. Inspired and impelled by the creative advances of his sidemen from 1963 to 1969, and aware of the trend-breaking represented by the music of Eddie Harris, Josef Zawinul, and John Handy as well as other jazz musicians who were reflecting their roots and the popular music of the times, Miles embraced the challenge of change. Further influenced by the dynamism and the accessibility of the music of James Brown, Sly Stone, and Jimi Hendrix, Miles made Bitches Brew the dramatic crossing of his Rubicon, and in so doing he erased all paths back to his past.

As I think back on the many stages of Miles’ career, I am struck by the way he was not only able to seemingly reinvent himself through his music but also, by his understanding that for him to create new music, he had to abandon those approaches of the past which no longer meshed with his new direction.

Perhaps there is no better example of this than the fact that the Miles Davis of the 1950s and most of the 1960s believed in recording the music as it was played, warts and all. Rarely did his bands record more than three takes of a composition and in most instances, Miles preferred to go with the first cut because of the spontaneity and freshness.

Bitches Brew, however, revealed a new recording attitude in Miles Davis in that he and producer Teo Macero began to view the studio and all its technological options as another instrument. As a result, to an extent wholly unprecedented in his career, Miles began to edit more, to play with the actual sequences of solos, and to search more for a mood and a feeling than for the perfect solo from his sideman and himself.

Perhaps we will never truly understand the creative process, at least as it applies to Miles. When one considers the incredible scope of his career and all the creative evolution it represented — the journey from Donna Lee to Time After Time — it becomes almost impossible to believe that one person could be so essential to so much music for so long. – Carlos Santana, liner note excerpt Mosaic Records: Miles Davis – The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (6 LPs)

Miles Davis
The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions
Discography

(A) Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Joe Zawinul (electric piano – left), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (bass), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), Lenny White (drums – left), Jack DeJohnette (drums – right), Don Alias (congas), Jumma Santos (Jim Riley) – shaker.
Columbia Studio B, New York City, August 19, 1969
co103745 Bitches Brew Columbia GP-26
co102951 John McLaughlin -1 –
co103746 Sanctuary -2 –
co103747 Pharaoh’s Dance (rehearsal) rejected
Orange Lady (rehearsal) rejected
-1 omit Brooks
-2 omit Maupin, Brooks and White

(B) Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Joe Zawinul (electric piano – left), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (electric bass), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), Don Alias (drums – left), Jack DeJohnette (drums – right), Jumma Santos (Jim Riley) – congas.
Columbia Studio B, New York City, August 20, 1969
co103749 Miles Runs The Voodoo Down Columbia GP-26

(C) Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Joe Zawinul (electric piano – left), Larry Young (electric piano – center), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (bass), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), Lenny White (drums – left), Jack DeJohnette (drums – right), Don Alias (congas), Jumma Santos (Jim Riley) – shaker.
Columbia Studio B, New York City, August 21, 1969
co103750 Spanish Key Columbia GP-26
co103313 Pharaoh’s Dance –

(D) Miles Davis (trumpet), Steve Grossman (soprano saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Herbie Hancock (electric piano – left), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Ron Carter (bass), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), Khalil Balakrishna (sitar), Bihari Sharma (tambura, tabla), Billy Cobham (drums, triangle), Airto Moriera (guica, berimbau)
Columbia Studio E, New York City, November 19, 1969
co103282 Great Expectations Columbia PG 32866
co103283 Orange Lady –
Yaphet previously unissued
Corrado previously unissued

(E) Miles Davis (trumpet), Steve Grossman (soprano saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Herbie Hancock (electric piano – left), Larry Young (organ, celeste), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (bass), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), Khalil Balakrishna (sitar), Bihari Sharma (tambura, tabla), Jack DeJohnette (drums -1) Billy Cobham (triangle -1, drums -2), Airto Moriera (guica, berimbau)
Columbia Studio E, New York City, November 28, 1969
co103289 Trevere -1 previously unissued
The Big Green Serpent -1 previously unissued
co103290 The Little Blue Frog (alt) -2 previously unissued
co103290 The Little Blue Frog (mst) -2 4-45090 (edited)

(F) Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Joe Zawinul (electric piano – left), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (electric bass), Khalil Balakrishna-1 (sitar), Billy Cobham (drums – left), Jack DeJohnette (drums – right), Airto Moriera (guica, percussion)
Columbia Studio B, New York City, January 27, 1970
co106707 Lonely Fire Columbia PG 32866
co106708 Guinnevere-1 Columbia PC2 36278
His Last Journey (rehearsal) rejected

(G) Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Joe Zawinul (electric piano – left), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (electric bass), Billy Cobham (drums – left), Jack DeJohnette (drums – right), Airto Moriera (guica, percussion)
Columbia Studio B, New York City, January 28, 1970
co106712 Feio previously unissued —CD bonus track
co106713 Double Image previously unissued

(H) Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone), Joe Zawinul (electric piano – left), Chick Corea (electric piano – right), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (electric bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Billy Cobham (triangle -1), Airto Moriera (guica, percussion)
Columbia Studio B, New York City, February 6, 1970
co106730 Recollection -1 previously unissued
co106731 Take It Or Leave It -1 previously unissued
co106732 Double Image Columbia G 30954

Album index:
GP-26 Bitches Brew
PG 32866 Big Fun
PC2 36278 Circle In The Round
G 30954 Live/Evil

Original sessions produced by Teo Macero
Recording engineer: Frank Laico (November 19, 1969) and Stan Tonkel (all others)

Reissue produced by Bob Belden
Executive producer: Michael Cuscuna and Charlie Lourie
Remix and mastering engineer: Mark Wilder

Special thanks to John Naatches for his tape research

Design direction: Richard Mantel
Design production:InkWell, Inc.

(c)1998 Sony Entertainment, Inc./(p)1998 Sony Music Entertainment, Inc./Sony Music special Products. Manufactured by Columbia Records, 550 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022-3211/”Columbia” and “Sony” Reg. U.S. Patent & TM Office/Marca Registrada/WARNING All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

(c)1998 Mosaic Records, Inc., 35 Melrose Place, Stamford, CT 06902. All rights reserved.