Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The World's Greatest Rock Band

Well, technically, it's the "world's greatest acid-funk-rock-soul-ambiant-trip-hop-tribal-speed metal" band. But my point is that you, most likely, have never heard this group on LP, CD or live. You need to seriously work on fixing that.

Miles Davis and his final great band, 1973-75. The quartet of mindblowing albums include the studio classic Get Up With It, and the live albums Dark Magus, Agharta, and Pangaea. By this point, Miles had long forsaken traditional jazz music, and with the influence of Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, and James Brown, returned from the great beyond with wild, furious, funky music from the distant future. And after these final four triumphs, Miles would disappear for six years...burned out? tired out? who knows? This is Miles' most enigmatic, and most thrilling, period.

On these albums, younger ears can recognize everything from The Chemical Brother to Public Enemy to Radiohead to Sonic Youth Red Hot Chili Peppers to Roots-era Sepultura and even Metallica's St. Anger. Everything sampled and remixed by the world's top DJ's, of course. Truly, music far beyond its time. In a lot of ways, we still haven't caught up. But the youth generation of the '90s and 2000's are catching up.

Thankfully, it's far easier to get your hands on these albums today. Two of these albums were only released in Japan back in the 1970's, but they have been remastered and restored to CD in the last few years. And many bootlegs of live performances exist. Oh, please please please put more of these shows out on CD. Heck, scour through the old tapes and bring it to us on LP! I don't know about you, but I can't get enough.

Also, it goes without saying that the above photos would make fantastic posters. There has to be a lot of killer photos lying around somewhere. This era of Miles Davis' career remains largely overlooked. If you know what's good for you, you'll do something about that.

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