Miles Davis – On The Corner (Full Album)

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On the Corner is a studio album by American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Miles Davis. It was recorded in June and July 1972, and released later that year by Columbia Records. The album continued Davis’ exploration of jazz fusion, bringing together funk rhythms with the influence of experimental composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman.

Recording sessions for the album featured a changing lineup of musicians including bassist Michael Henderson, guitarist John McLaughlin, and keyboardist Herbie Hancock, with Davis playing the electric organ more prominently than his trumpet.[8] Various takes from the sessions were then spliced together using the tape editing techniques of producer Teo Macero. The album’s packaging did not credit any musicians, an attempt to make the instruments less discernible to critics. Its artwork features Corky McCoy’s cartoon designs of urban African-American characters.

On the Corner was in part an effort by Davis to reach a younger African American audience who had largely left jazz for funk and rock music.[9] Instead, it became one of his worst-selling recordings and was scorned by establishment jazz critics at the time of its release.[9][10] It would be Davis’s last studio album of the 1970s conceived as a complete work; subsequently, he recorded haphazardly and focused instead on live performance before temporarily retiring from music in 1975.[11]

The critical standing of On the Corner has improved dramatically with the passage of time.[4] Many outside the jazz community later called it an innovative musical statement and forerunner to subsequent funk, jazz, post-punk, electronica, and hip hop music. In 2007, On the Corner was reissued as part of the 6-disc box set The Complete On the Corner Sessions, joining previous multi-disc Davis reissues (Wikipedia).

AllMusic Review by 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.

Track listing:
All songs written by Miles Davis.

1. “On the Corner/New York Girl/Thinkin’ One Thing and Doin’ Another/Vote for Miles” – 0:00
2. “Black Satin” – 19:58
3. “One and One” – 25:19
4. “Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X” – 31:30

Personnel:

Miles Davis – electric trumpet, organ
Dave Liebman – soprano saxophone (A1)
Carlos Garnett – soprano and tenor saxophone (B1, B2)
Chick Corea – electric piano
Herbie Hancock – electric piano, synthesizer
Harold I. Williams – organ, synthesizer
David Creamer (A2, B1, B2), John McLaughlin (A1) – electric guitar
Michael Henderson – electric bass
Collin Walcott (A1, B1, B2), Khalil Balakrishna (A2) – electric sitar
Bennie Maupin – bass clarinet (B1)
Badal Roy – tabla
Jack DeJohnette– drums
Jabali Billy Hart – drums, bongos
James “Mtume” Foreman, Don Alias – percussion
Paul Buckmaster – cello, arrangements
Robert Honablue – engineer

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