Spin - 1/99, p.92Ranked #9
in Spin's list of the "Ten Best Reissues Of 1998."
THE COMPLETE BITCHES BREW SESSIONS won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Boxed Recording Package.
Personnel: Miles Davis (vocals, trumpet); Miles Davis; Bihari Sharma (tambura, tamboura, tabla); Dave Holland (bass instrument, electric bass, bass guitar); Harvey Brooks (electric bass, bass guitar); Jumma Santos (congas, shaker, percussion); Jim Riley (congas, shaker); John McLaughlin (guitar); Airto Moreira (berimbau, cuica, percussion); Khalil Balakrishna (sitar); Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet, saxophone); Steve Grossman, Wayne Shorter (saxophone, soprano saxophone); Larry Young (celesta, electric piano, organ); Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul (electric piano, keyboards); Don Alias (drums, congas, percussion); Billy Cobham (drums, triangle); Jack DeJohnette, Lenny White (drums).
Audio Remasterers: Rob Schwarz; Mark Wilder.
Audio Remixers: Rob Schwarz; Mark Wilder.
Liner Note Authors: Michael Cuscuna; Quincy Troupe; Ralph J. Gleason; Bob Belden; Carlos Santana.
Recording information: Columbia Studio B, New York, NY (08/19/1969-02/06/1970); Columbia Studio E, New York, NY (08/19/1969-02/06/1970).
Photographers: Harvey Brooks ; Don Hunstein; Art Maillet; Baron Wolman; Francis Wolff; Urve Kuusik; Fred Lombardi; Sandy Speiser; David Redfern; Jan Persson; Lee Tanner; Chuck Stewart.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Seth Rothstein; Steven Berkowitz.
Released in 1970, BITCHES BREW undeniably changed the shape of jazz to come. Fundamentalists groan that it diluted the form, bringing on the fusion plague and sowing the germs of smooth jazz. But a cross-section of adventurous listeners recognized it for the monumental sonic breakthrough it was: slabs of free jazz mixed with hard-funk rhythms, rock's electric textures and a meditative blues spirit, with the studio used as the editing desk to tie these elements together.
The sessions that produced BITCHES BREW lasted three days, but over a handful of dates during the next six months, Miles used the same general core of musicians to create tapestries of a similar cloth. Some of these saw the light on subsequent electric Davis releases (LIVE/EVIL, BIG FUN, CIRCLE IN THE ROUND), others make their debut on this 4 CD compilation. And even these last-in-line pieces are full of prescience and jaw-dropping beauty. A prime example is "Recollections," an 18-minute meditation on a folk theme written by Joe Zawinul that seems like Ravel's "Bolero" distilled with the ambient grooves of Can. It is genius at play, and further proof that Miles' explorations mapped sonic spaces that are ahead of their time decades later.