Alternative Press - 11/00, pp.104-64 out of 5
- "...Essential....a masterpiece and a visionary forecasting of modern music....representing the high water mark of his experiments in the fusion of rock, funk, electronica and jazz..."
JazzTimes - 11/00, p.70
"...A sound that provides an eerie parallel to some of Funkadelic's more atmospheric stuff..."
Musician - 12/93, p.95
"...With its hypnotic post-soul grooves and its sound collage aesthetic, ON THE CORNER can now be appreciated as a seedbed of hip-hop, M-Base and other post-modern byways..."
ON THE CORNER enjoys a special cult status among musicians, anticipating as it does the punk funk/acid jazz movements. For Miles Davis, ON THE CORNER was another seismic shift. Miles was particularly fond of the lyric sweep of Hendrixian electric guitar, the James Brown-like rhythmic thump of Fender bass, and the bell-like timbre and chordal possibilities of the Fender/Rhodes electric piano. Now the trumpeter sought to incorporate the feel of street rhythms from around the world and to reflect the influence of modern electronic composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen.
So while ON THE CORNER is generously populated with top-flight jazz players, Davis was zeroing in on a contemporary approach not beholden to jazz players of jazz rhythmic postures--although group improvisation is still very much the order of the day. In paving the way for his Afro-psychedelic working bands of the mid-70's, Davis was roundly dissed, but ON THE CORNER endures brilliantly--the dark lady of Miles' musical sonnets.
The album is a furious carnival of rhythm. The first section is dominated by an Afro-Cuban groove, the eerie distortion of Miles' wah-wah trumpet, John McLaughlin's nasty electric leads and a swelter of rhythms--every instrument seemingly transformed into a drum. The second section beginning with "Black Satin" is driven along by a commanding Michael Henderson bass line, a celestial drone of Indian bells, sitars, tablas, congas and handclaps, some skanky Herbie Hancock keyboards, and a skittering Davis solo.