Dec 18, 2016

Miles Davis Big Fun: Double Slabs of Droning Jazz Rock

 Big Fun indeed: Miles was so ahead of the curve, these outtakes were from sessions released from 1969 and 1972, and not released until 1974.

Big Fun was barely noticed at the time, 26 years later the digital remaster was released on CD.
Finally I think enough time has passed to give this music the needed space to catch up with the rest of the world's recorded music.

So many things of note within the Electric music of Miles Davis: Producer Teo Macero's Production techniques were way ahead of their time.

 The overall combination of Indian instruments with rock and funk, must have seemed bizarre even for jazz rock? There is no point denying how imperfect Big Fun is, at times it does feel thrown together like some cosmic stew of international sounds.

Big Fun has an interesting production technique from producer Teo Macero, who seems completely thrilled with just trying out every new gizmo and gadget Columbia Records could dream up in the studio.

Oh how fun this time period must have been, how exciting to create and break new ground on the fly like Miles did during the 70's.


The most overtly funky track from Big Fun is "Ife", a repetitive bass drone track that sounds like could have been on the On the Corner album. The rest of the album to my ears sounds like Bitches Brew Outtakes. especially "Go Ahead John".

The first time I heard "Go Ahead John", it nearly drove me crazy. Teo Macero's channel switcher on Jack Dejohnette's drums all most ruined it for me. Years later I happened to give the track another shot, but this time without head phones.



The isolation of the headphones made the effect almost tortuous to me. "Go Ahead John" turns out to be a fantastic 27 minute long dirge. It also features only 5 musicians, Davis on trumpet, John McLaughlin on guitar, Steve Grossman on sax, Dave Holland on Bass, and Jack Dejohnette on drums.

Also it is worth noting that "Go Ahead John" has no keyboard of any kind, it also comes from the Jack Johnson recording sessions. It's hard for me to convey exact musical terminology, as I am not a formally trained musician, but I hear a lot of late 60's funky James Brown groovin' on this track.

It's obvious to me Miles Digs JB. When you listen to the Complete Jack Johnson sessions box you will be amazed at the hard funk and Hendrix style hard rock grooves being worked out.

By the time Miles found Guitarist Pete Cosey near the end of 1973, Miles had settled into voodoo funk groove based style that reminds me of this style a bit. Well, at least I can hear Miles' process here. It is a matter of personal interpretation though.

I have been dissecting this music for over 15 years, and I am still completely amazed how many new things I hear and how the discovery of new stuff seems to never end. Many Times I will put Big Fun on as back ground music, much of this music is good like that as well.

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