Music Oct 31, 2012 at 4:00 am

Seattle Musicians Wax Ecstatic About Miles Davis’s On the Corner


I'm going to have to revisit this. When I got it in the mid 70's I listened to it many times, but eventually decided that is simply was not as interesting as his other releases of the period. Strip off all the fascination with its "uniqueness" and tone down the exlamations of it's "importance" and you have somewhat interesting but overlong tracks. I would recommend Bitches Brew and Live/Evil ahead of On The Corner.
Please understand, I truly love Miles. I utterly respect and appreciate his genius. Sadly, I do not LIKE his music. It is heresy, I know, and I will do penance. But one song's-worth of muted trumpet is, seriously, all I can take in any given day.
James Brown may have invented funk, but with this album, Miles took the funk into outer space, something JB never did. Don't get me wrong--I consider James Brown to be the King--in my musical temple of artists, JB is number terms of career output, and based on his invention of something that, in my opinion, only an earth sign of the zodiac could have created--funk--James Brown is the baddest motherfucker who ever picked up a mic. But back to "On The Corner". I have 2 holy grail LP's that i want, and wont stop searching for until I get ' brand new, mint condition, of course....and they are, "Mezzanine" by Massive Attack...and, "On The Corner", by Miles Davis. Why do I like it so much? Here's the thing. My favorite Miles album? "In a Silent Way". My favorite Miles song? "On The Corner"...or let me rephrase that....the "On The Corner" suite, since to me, those four segments that were made to separate the song into New York Girl up to Vote For Miles count as one song. There is no gap, it doesnt stop, so to me, its one song. Lots of people would agree with me. The way Miles comes in with the horn squeals reminds me of what we hear on "Luv N'Haight" by Sly & The Family Stone. The bass and drums kill me. I call that "bounce" funk. After all that 16 drumming, when it goes to 4/4, man, you just have to shake ur shoulders or bob ur head, or jump like the Masai do--that shit is funky as hell. And the end--the Vote For Miles part? Oh man. The buildup to it is great....and then Miles comes in, floating above the sexy bass that accentuates the 4/4 drums. Election time, and Miles won. I also want to say that, maybe part of the reason this record was not liked that much by critics is because, at it core, the album is Are we afraid to say that? Come on. Well, I'm saying it. Why was "Tomorrow Never Knows" by The Beatles deemed revolutionary...when Ringo borrowed drumming that does NOT come from white music history? Think about that for a minute. On a side note, John Coltrane was killing it in the 60s way before the Beatles...and its interesting to me that Miles and Trane kind of "took turns" ruling decades--Miles in the 50s, Trane in the 60s, Miles in the 70s.....but I dont want to make this too long, just felt like giving my appreciation on one of the best albums I've ever heard. The album isnt perfect from beginning to end, like a Michael Jackson album, where u like every song...but in terms of innovation, far-sightedness, rhythm, feel,and "bad-ass"-ness...I give the album an overall rating of 9 out of 10. Peace, I'm out.

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