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On the Corner
     

On the Corner

3.4 5
by Miles Davis
 

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Miles Davis never did anything in a small way, and his foray into funk was no exception. Davis threw everything and the kitchen sink onto ON THE CORNER: Electric guitars and saxophones slam against sitars and tablas; synthesizers and hand-clapping contingents jostle for space with multiple keyboards and drums, a bass clarinet, and, oh yes, Davis's own electric trumpet

Overview

Miles Davis never did anything in a small way, and his foray into funk was no exception. Davis threw everything and the kitchen sink onto ON THE CORNER: Electric guitars and saxophones slam against sitars and tablas; synthesizers and hand-clapping contingents jostle for space with multiple keyboards and drums, a bass clarinet, and, oh yes, Davis's own electric trumpet. On tunes like "Helen Butte" and "Mr. Freedom X" it's nearly impossible half the time to figure out what combination of instruments you're hearing anyway. Holding it all together is a wicked groove that's more indebted to James Brown, Sly Stone, and 1970s funk than it is to any traditional notion of jazz swing. Davis himself plays far less than usual, but individual improvisation isn't what ON THE CORNER is all about. Crazy rhythms and even crazier sonic textures give this gem a density that was finally appreciated a decade later by more experimental, and open-eared, neo-funketeers. Today, ON THE CORNER is a touchstone for forward-thinking jazz and hip-hop artists alike, proving that nothing succeeds like excess.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Could there be any more confrontational sound in Miles Davis' vast catalog than the distorted guitars and tinny double-timing drums reacting to a two-note bass riff funking it up on the first track from On the Corner? Before the trumpet even enters the story has been broken off in the middle -- deep street music melding with a secret language exchanged by the band and those who can actually hear it as music. Here are killer groove riffs that barely hold on as bleating trumpet and soprano sax lines (courtesy of Dave Liebman on track one) interact with John McLaughlin's distortion-box frenzy. Michael Henderson's bass keeps the basic so basic it hypnotizes; keyboards slowly enter the picture, a pair of them handled by Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, as well as Ivory Williams' synthesizer. Finally, Colin Walcott jumps in with an electric sitar and there are no less than five drummers -- three kits (Al Foster, Billy Hart, and Jack DeJohnette), a tabla player, and Mtume. It's a four-tune suite, On the Corner is, but the separations hardly matter, just the shifts in groove that alter the time/space continuum. After 20 minutes, the set feels over and a form of Miles' strange lyricism returns in "Black Satin." Though a tabla kicks the tune off, there's a recognizable eight-note melody that runs throughout. Carlos Garnett and Bennie Maupin replace Liebman, Dave Creamer replaces McLaughlin, and the groove rides a bit easier -- except for those hand bells shimmering in the background off the beat just enough to make the squares crazy. The respite is short-lived, however. Davis and band move the music way over to the funk side of the street -- though the street funkers thought these cats were too weird with their stranded time signatures and modal fugues that begin and end nowhere and live for the way the riff breaks down into emptiness. "One and One" begins the new tale, so jazz breaks down and gets polished off and resurrected as a far blacker, deeper-than-blue character in the form of "Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X," where guitars and horns careen off Henderson's cracking bass and Foster's skittering hi-hats. It may sound weird even today, but On the Corner is the most street record ever recorded by a jazz musician. And it still kicks.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/15/2007
Label:
Sony / Bmg Japan
UPC:
4547366021233
catalogNumber:
845
Rank:
265732

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Miles Davis   Primary Artist,Trumpet
Jack DeJohnette   Drums
Carlos Garnett   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Herbie Hancock   Synthesizer,Keyboards,fender rhodes
Billy Hart   Drums
Bennie Maupin   Bass Clarinet
John McLaughlin   Guitar
Collin Walcott   Sitar,Electric Sitar
Reggie Lucas   Guitar
Don Alias   Percussion,Drums
Badal Roy   Tabla
Khalil Balakrishna   Electric Sitar
Armando Anthony Corea   Keyboards,fender rhodes
James Mtume   Percussion
Foster   Drums
Michael Henderson   Bass Guitar
David Kreamen   Guitar
Cedric Lawson   Organ
David Liebman   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Teo Macero   Saxophone
Harold "Ivory" Williams   Keyboards
David Creamer   Guitar
William Hart   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Bob Belden   Liner Notes
Miles Davis   Composer
John McLaughlin   Liner Notes
David Liebman   Liner Notes
Teo Macero   Producer
Russ Payne   Engineer
Mark Wilder   Engineer
Bill Milkowski   Liner Notes
Allen Weinberg   Art Direction
Nedra Olds-Neal   Reissue Producer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Stanley Tonkel   Engineer

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