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'Listen to This: Miles Davis and Bitches' Brew' First Book Documenting Classic Album

By Thomas Swan t.swan@classicalite.com on Feb 29, 2016 01:38 AM EST

In 1970, jazz legend Miles Davis was at his creative peak. He was about to enter the studio to record one of the greatest jazz albums ever recorded, the provactively titled double album Bitches Brew. Although it would sharply divide the jazz world, due largely to the fact Davis would use scalding electrics to his scintillating style, it became a defining moment for him. Strangely enough, there has never been a book documenting the album that would change jazz, until now. Author Victor Svorinch presents Listen to This: Miles Davis and Bitches Brew.

Forty six years later, Bitches Brew remains a testament to Miles Davis' restless genius. It also set the jazz world on its ear. Gone was lounge bop or cool blues. Davis wanted more and would show others that all was possibe if you decided to chase it. Previous to this book, Svorinch had produced books on other Davis album, In a Silent Way and On the Corner. According to Jazz Times, "Listen to This smoothly grounds Davis' new direction in the context of its times. The product of recording sessions begun the day after Woodstock, Brew reflected the evolving sensibilities of an artist dedicated to never putting his muse in park."

Svorinch deals with a number of rumors and myths in his book, the biggest one being the influence producer Teo Macero played on the overall album. Tragically, according to AllAboutJazz, "It's only in the last decade and a half, beginning with Paul Tingen's Miles Beyond: The Electric Explorations of Miles Davis, 1967-1991 (Billboard Books, 2001), that Davis' electric period has received similar critical attention as that given to his earlier acoustic jazz. And it's with his musicologist's eye and his musician's ear that Svorinich refocuses attention on an album that still excites debate over four decades later."

When originally released, Davis was labelled a sell out by many for his venture in to the plugged in world. How they justified this when there was nothing like the music Davis was playing at. However, be that as it may, Svorinch makes the case that the album was as much a product of the post hippie Woodstock era. Davis had become enamored with Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone and vowed not to be left behind.

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TagsMiles Davis, Bitches' Brew, Book About Recording, Jazz, Electric Jazz, Classic Album, Listen Up