COMPOSERS: Miles Davis
LABELS: Sony Legacy
ALBUM TITLE: The Complete On the Corner Sessions
PERFORMER: Miles Davis (trumpet), Dave Liebman (saxophone), Chick Corea (keyboards), John McLaughlin (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: 88697062392
Compared to earlier electric forays, Miles Davis’s studio recordings from 1972-5 find the trumpeter acting less of a soloist than an alchemist, putting together ensembles whose styles assumed distinct personalities. On the Corner was about unfettered, free-association discourse (saxist Dave Liebman and guitarist John McLaughlin stand out) over insidious repetitive grooves, while later sessions featured more polyrhythmic textures upon which Davis unleashed terse, percussive wah-wah pedal flavoured trumpet commentaries, such as ‘Calypso Frelimo’. During this time Davis began to play the organ, giving direction by way of loud, stabbing sustained chords. Three hours of unreleased material offer plenty of diamonds in the experimental rough, in contrast to carefully crafted extended numbers like ‘He Loved Him Madly’. Aside from commercial blunders, such as ‘Red China Blues’, the music of Davis’s critically divisive period retains its edge.