Despite producing the original sessions, Teo Macero was not involved in putting the set together, and is adamant that they should never have been released in this form.
"I hate it," he says. "I think it's a bunch of shit, and you can quote me on that. And I hope you do. It has destroyed Miles and made him sound like an idiot. It's a terrible thing to do to an artist when he's dead. Those records were gems, and you should leave them as gems."
It's too bad most people think of "Bitches Brew" when the subject of electric Miles comes up, because although it's a classic, I think it's not the most interesting of the period. Along with "Agartha" and "Dark Magus", it would be an easy to think the whole era a funked up bore.
It was that way for me until I got hold of "The Complete On The Corner Sessions".
I'd never heard the original, but it's reputation is pretty poor as many Jazz fans found the long funky pieces "not jazz", and boring. It's not "Sketches Of Spain", that's for sure. I love the unreleased jams Teo thinks are shit. It's what opened my ears to Miles. Next I collected "The Complete Jack Johnson", then "The Complete In A Silent Way", and "The Complete Bitches Brew".
I don't think Teo likes the curtain being pulled back to reveal how he and Miles manipulated hours of tape to construct a product instead of letting the jams speak for themselves.
I wanted to make an ambient album, I'd read somewhere that Brian Eno had been influenced by "He Loved Him Madly" and used it as a rough guide for texture and pacing in his ambient works, so I started with that and "Guinnevere" ("Bitches Brew" outtake). I made a cd, and while reviewing, realized that no matter how much I love it, "He Loved Him Madly" is too damn long, so I snipped off the first ten minutes, where a natural break occurs and a drum beat is introduced. This differs from the released version in that there are no overdubs or edits (save mine). It's the original Jam.
"The Big Green Serpent" is another "BB" outtake. it's a fragment, marred by a slight breakdown with conversation. I cut about 40 seconds.
In order for everything to fit on a cd, I trimmed about a minute no one will miss off the end of "Guinnevere". Everything else "as is".
I finished it off with "Go Ahead, John part One" (Jack Johnson outtake), which isn't all that ambient, but a terrific bluesy closer with great solos by Miles, and John McLaughlin's stunning guitar.
I heartily disagree with Mr. Macero. It has not destroyed Miles and made him sound like an idiot. This material enhances both Miles catalog and reputation, and in no way casts the artist in a poor light.
Good for late night, or early morning.
Chillin With Miles
Enjoy your chill whenever.
Miles Davis to Stevie Wonder just prior to going on tour with The Rolling Stones:
"I'm stealing your motherfuckin bass player".