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On The Corner Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
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Inspired by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone (who were rocketing up the charts at the time), yet also perturbed at the way young black audiences had largely ignored jazz, Miles began crafting a record that gave these fans the type of music that was selling big and blowing minds, but gave it to them AS jazz, arguably in its original form. He was also about to step away from any significant critical or commercial success for many years, as the record was unfairly blasted by critics and purists. The accusations of 'selling out' mirror those hurled at Dylan circa 'Highway 61' and while that record catapulted its writer to even greater heights, On the Corner doomed Miles Davis for many years.
Interestingly, it wasn't jazz fans that dug this one up from the depths and resurrected it some 15 years or so after release.Read more ›
The drums are metronomic and hypnotic, other instruments chop and play snatches of notes that fit into the spaces between. There is so much going on and yet there is a lot of repetition. It is the musical equivalent of watching a pot boil, but so much more rewarding, obviously, otherwise I'd be in the kitchen getting another pot on the cooker instead of listening to it as I write.
Miles is taking a huge risk here, the music could so easily have fallen flat and become boring, yet, thanks to the supreme skills of all involved it never does. It is a lesson in how to wring the most out of a single chord and how to keep the rhythm interesting without changing the basic beat. The level of improvising that was going on in concert around this time by his band was unique, unless you were in the rhythm section. How these guys could hold the beat for so long without cracking up is a feat of magnificence and self control in itself.
It must have been incredible when it came out almost 40 years ago. Unlike the theme for Shaft and other funky music this has not aged at all. It sounds as fresh and as interesting as anything that has been made in the last 2, 10, 20 years. Certainly I do not think Miles was ever as good as this after he came out of his "retirement" in the mid 70's, sure he could play, but had lost something he never got back.
One of my favourite Miles Davis albums.
1970-71 saw Miles gathering a much bigger audience for his music, playing concert venues rather than jazz clubs. He had played the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival to 600'000 people (as featured in Miles Electric, mentioned above) but Miles was becoming concerned that he was losing his black audience. His response to that anxiety was On the Corner. If the jazz critics hated Bitches Brew, it seemed that everybody hated On the Corner. The cover sets it up, very 'Street' and aggressively so. The music is uncompromisingly rhythmic and dense. The soloing instruments are kept back amongst the pulsing rhythm and even to sympathetic ears it does, even today, sound a bit unrelenting on first listen.
Time, however, has been very forgiving to this album. The gradual catching up that various forms of popular music have done in the past 40 years (but not jazz) has meant that current audiences are far more receptive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Funktastic! Definitely THE Miles Davis album to get. It's 4 related funky jams, each of which seems to retain an element of the last, all driving, pumping ad full of interesting... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Princess Tina
You can (virtually) hear Miles Davis’ whispering defiance against the 'jazz establishment’ with the embryonic 'drum and bass’-led sound this most progressive of all jazz leaders... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Keith M
I'll keep my review brief. This is noisy, tuneless rubbish. Typical of Miles' early to mid seventies output. Don't bother with it.Published on 15 April 2014 by Mr. D. Wyatt
Sorry Amazon but even as a loyal customer I just had to buy this as it was on offer at HMV in Brighton for £1.99p!!! Read morePublished on 11 April 2014 by Craig
For me, this is one of the best jazz / funk albums of all time. A deliberate attempt by Miles to capture the attention of young black music fans listening to rock & funk instead of... Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2013 by Haider