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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Bitches Brew

Miles Davis

1970

Buy At Rough Trade
Bitches Brew
Album Summary

Bitches Brew is a studio album by American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Miles Davis. It was recorded from August 19 to 21, 1969, at Columbia's Studio B in New York City and released on March 30, 1970 by Columbia Records. It marked his continuing experimentation with electric instruments that he had featured on his previous record, the critically acclaimed In a Silent Way (1969). With these instruments, such as the electric piano and guitar, Davis departed from traditional jazz rhythms in favor of loose, rock-influenced arrangements based on improvisation. The final tracks were edited and pieced together by producer Teo Macero. The album initially received a mixed critical and commercial response, but it gained momentum and became Davis' highest-charting album on the U.S. Billboard 200, peaking at No. 35. In 1971, it won a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. In 1976, it became Davis' first gold album to be certified by the Recording Industry Association of America.In subsequent years, Bitches Brew gained recognition as one of jazz's greatest albums and a progenitor of the jazz rock genre, as well as a major influence on rock and '70s crossover musicians. In 1998, Columbia released The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, a four-disc box set that includes the original album and previously unreleased material. In 2003, the album was certified platinum, reflecting shipments of one million copies.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.28

Votes

12176

Genres

  • Jazz

Reviews

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Wed Jul 28 2021
2

That sure was several 20-minute jazz songs.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
1

Listening to this gave me anxiety

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Tue Feb 02 2021
1

It's true what they say about experimental jazz. It's shit

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Thu Dec 02 2021
1

Miles Davis scrambles around like an uncircumcised elephant trying to skull fuck the charred remains of Madeline McCann.

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Mon Sep 12 2022
1

Fuck, Jazz!!! Just fuck!!! I can’t do the improvisational shit. The lack of structure drives me insane. It’s cacophony! This album is at least 10x too long. I quit before the second song was half over. I just can’t do it. I know this is somewhat unfair, but I have to stick to my rating system and this album is unbearable. My apologies, Mr. Davis. I know you are a master at your craft.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

A dream, a place with a clearing that drips with choices. In even waters, the fish will swim. As the album starts, the drummer seems to be the only thing holding everything together. It sounds like Miles is just paying attention to the drummer. Then I start to hear the musicians pairing off, twisting into and out of each others rhythm. I think timing and tempo are important to this album. Everyone feels so free to throw in fills or take a silent beat. Love this album!

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

This is a seminal album for any jazz fan. The addition of electric instruments to a more traditional jazz set-up creates a really unique sound and it was pretty revolutionary at the time. The songs feel exciting and alive because they were largely improvised in the studio. Shoutout to the album art, which really captures the feel of the music.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

loving this. Bonkers and I can see why it is in the Top 1001 album's

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Thu Nov 19 2020
4

Whew. I thought I had listened to this record before but maybe not. It was WAY more experimental and chaotic than I expected. The musicianship is undeniable but it's not exactly an enjoyable listening experience. For some reason, though, it absolutely pushed me to heights of productivity while I listened to it this morning so there's something there that's working on my subconcious. Overall, I absolutely understand why this is on the list and I think I'm going to have to give it a second listen to understand it.

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Sun Sep 26 2021
4

Probably the best album I'll never listen to start to finish more than once. Best track: Miles Runs the Voodoo Down

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Fri Apr 02 2021
1

I just can't get past the discordant jumble of sound.

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Thu Dec 02 2021
2

Fucking Miles Davis. 4 times now. Can't be arsed with it.

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Thu Apr 21 2022
1

I think the time it would take to learn to enjoy listening to this album would be better spent enjoying not listening to this album.

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Mon Jul 04 2022
1

I haven't finished listening to this yet (and I will, I am no quitter) but I already know my rating will be 1/5 because the whole of the 45 mins I've listened to so far has sounded exactly the same to me.

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Thu Dec 24 2020
5

I was led to believe Kind of Blue was his opus but this meandering puzzle of noise is absolutely fantastic, something that you can immediately have enthusiasm for, but also something that would take a long time to truly understand on a theoretical level.

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Sun Jul 11 2021
5

This is my favorite era for Miles though it may not be for many others. I love getting lost in these jams especially the way they are edited together to make these "movements" and suites. A bold experiment in searching for a new sound and creating a new subgenre in the process.

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Tue Jul 05 2022
1

first song was enough for me. It’s just musicians warming up and making senseless noise. no one actually is able to sit through nearly two hours of that shit. 0/5

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Wed Jan 26 2022
5

Instant five. The kind of album that makes me throw my head back in relief, one of my all-time favorites ever by anyone. Anyone who thinks Kind of Blue is Miles Davis' magnum opus is a square, this one's otherworldly. It's frantic and hypnotic, a constant cyclone of disarray and hallucination. Imagine how psychotic these studio sessions must have felt. The title track is my favorite, especially for the moments of quiet that Davis punctuates by alternating between distant, echoing toots and loud, alarming blares of his trumpet. The guy is a wizard, that's never more clear than it is on this album. Do I have it on vinyl? Uh, yeah, two copies. You can't risk not having this around to spin. Also, as someone who likes to complain about long albums, I've got no complaints with this one. The standard is 90 minutes, but I listen to it with bonus tracks because it's that good. Each track is an odyssey. Favorite tracks: Bitches Brew, Spanish Key, but really the whole thing. Album art: Iconic. Easily in my top 5 ever ever. I love this art and art style so much. Most if not all vinyl releases for this are in gatefold format, and the art on the back is equally striking--the woman's face on the left is mirrored by an albino woman and there's a grimacing shaman priestess or something. I don't know if any artist has nailed the aesthetic of the music as well as this. 5/5

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Wed Apr 10 2024
5

I'm getting increasingly frustrated at the negative reception to experimental album - you're given 1001 albums and you're getting frustrated at the ones that stand out? Albums like these are what make music so exciting, important, and revelatory. Nothing is happening quite like it.

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Wed May 19 2021
4

They sure have a lot of superstars on this album. I like the way the ample rhythm section carves out spaces for the horns to solo, so they’re not soloing over top of each other, which is the problem I had with the recent Mingus album. I love the percussive nature of the rhythm guitar and keyboards. Miles plays aggressively at times, more so than I’ve heard before. While it’s great that it’s so improvised, with little rehearsal and only impromptu guidance from Miles, the fact that it was over-edited seems to defeat the purpose. I didn’t like this when I sampled it back in the day but after three listens in 24 hours I’m a fan.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
2

nazi scientists pioneered the use of powdered orange juice drink but we dont put them on the '1001 scientists you need to know about' list saying that, I didn't hate this completely, there was a head bop or two I could imagine myself in a swanky jazz club listening to this - only manageable by the copious amounts of cocaine I would have to do to enjoy it

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Tue Jun 20 2023
2

But a 6 if I listened to this live while sipping an Old Fashioned.

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Tue Mar 23 2021
1

The instruments don't sound like they're playing the same songs. 26 minute songs strike me as being made for the artists themselves rather than the end listener. Shite.

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Thu Apr 21 2022
1

So Miles walks into the studio and says: "hey cats, I've got an idea: let's all play each other's instruments. I don't have the first f'ing idea how to play drums, but how hard can it be? Also, let's not stick on any particular tune ... or key.". Nigh on two hours I don't wish to repeat.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Clearly a masterpiece. Abstract and at times uncomfortable but very virtuous

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

Damn, this album is something else. It just goes freakin nuts in 'Miles Runs the Voodoo Down' - its like some weird, psychedelic musical odyssey. But what an album, I can't not give this 5 stars.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Way ahead of its time. Cool chilled and also strangely challenging

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Mon Mar 25 2024
5

This album makes me ask the question: How do you define jazz? I haven’t listened to much jazz, but this pushes beyond what I thought it could be. Very experimental with the flavors of rock and electric instrumentation. Also for being over 90 minutes it never felt drawn out.

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Sun Apr 07 2024
4

Very interesting experimental jazz with the surprising addition of some electric instruments. The very definition of dreamlike, where the narrative thread comes and goes - often hard to follow - but there’s a subconscious logic holding the whole thing together. I expected this to be an easy 5, but the long runtime combined with that dream-logic made it more challenging than I would’ve thought. Definitely one I’ll revisit.

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Tue May 04 2021
5

Always loved this one, since I first got into jazz. However, the more I know about jazz, the more I appreciate this album - because I can see that there's rarely been an album of this calibre in the whole sub-genre of fusion this helped launch. I love how the tracks can start off sounding kinda like twiddly improv stuff, but they are far from undisciplined. Pseudo-symphonic structures emerge across the 10-30min tracks. Every instrument is lithe with vitality, and there isn't a dull moment over the whole 90 mins. If you compare it to bebop: instead of solists stepping to the front from the ensemble, this is like a group of virtuosos jamming together, and occasionally one of them is doing something different over in the corner, which only enhances the crazy beauty of the whole. 5/5 easy.

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Mon Apr 01 2024
5

set a course for F U S I O N. Chick Corea on the keys and Wayne Shorter on the sax. LFG! Spanish Key, take me away. The perfect album to see the curviture of the earth to. oooo and then Miles Run the Voodoo Down.

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Thu Nov 16 2023
2

I think this might be too jazz. This whole album left me somewhere between lost and confused, I'm not sure if any of the songs had a beginning, middle, or end. Maybe I will come back in 2 decades and see if it grows on me.

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Thu Mar 28 2024
2

Songs are too long and unstructured. I love Miles, but this one isn't it for me

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Sun Mar 31 2024
2

Just not my style. I find it choppy and abrasive.

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Sun Mar 31 2024
2

I think I prefer Davis’s earlier work, this style of experimental jazz didn’t seem to do it for me. It just felt like there was too much dead air and disjointedness, especially in disc 1 (which consists of two tracks each over 20 min in length I should add). Just never really landed for me, but I appreciate the effort that went into trying something different.

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Mon Jan 31 2022
1

Absolutely hideous every second of this album was like sound torture. Never again!

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Thu Mar 03 2022
1

The album is 94 minutes long. Three minutes in and I was already dreading it. I do not care for jazz even though this is not really pure jazz but that does not help it. Parts of it were alright, however, I did start skipping around in the songs. I am not sure why one song needs to be 20 plus minutes long. I have no desire to ever listen to this again.

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Wed Aug 03 2022
1

A bunch of instruments playing, but with no relation to each other. An interminably long album.

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Tue Aug 09 2022
1

I'm sure a lot of people will like it, but I hate it. Absolute pish.

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Sun Sep 04 2022
1

Committing arson would have been a better way to spend my time than making myself listen to this garbage for 2 hours.

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Mon Nov 21 2022
1

Only made it through one third of the first track. I have nothing against Miles Davis specifically but I can't possibly describe how not into jazz I am.

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Fri Dec 09 2022
1

Not sure what's worse - the fact that this is my second Miles Davis album in a week, or the fact that this is 1 hour and 45 minutes long. I really cannot do jazz. Listening to this feels like going to work at a horrible job. I keep checking the clock thinking that 2 hours have gone by, only to find out that it's just been 15 minutes and I'm still on the first song of the album. I'm desperately waiting for the day to end, and I know I can leave at any time (or in this case, turn the album off). But I'm no quitter so I stick with it, even if doing so evokes a horrible visceral reaction in me because I am so, so, so bored.

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Sat Jan 14 2023
1

Kill me. Kill me now. An assault on my ears How is this 2 hours long. Didn5 get further than 30 mins in. 30 mins of my life I will never get back

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Sat Feb 18 2023
1

7 SONGS AND AN HOUR AND 45 MINUTES???

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Fri Mar 10 2023
1

Another jazz album, another sad day for me. I don’t hate ALL jazz, but it’s safe to say experimental jazz is not for me, especially not almost 2 hours worth of it. In the words of Eleanor Shellstrop: “Ugh, I hate jazz. Every jazz song is like 40 minutes long. It’s like, we get it. You can blow on a trumpet.”

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Mon Apr 17 2023
1

Yeah man I tried to get it years ago. Still feels the same. Stressful and random. Idk man idk

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Sun Apr 23 2023
1

Certainly not music you'd hear in Olive Garden, unlike the other Miles Davis album I've gotten before. However, I would of vastly preferred that over this noise. Is me slamming on a piano for ten minutes really count as a song? Sure, if you want, but why would you want to listen to it? I'm certain this album is purely being carried by the name(s) behind it, because otherwise this is awful. You're lucky if you hear even a minute of something that sounds vaguely organized, or even listenable, and the fact that there is an hour-and-a-half of this in this album just makes it all the worse. Maybe I'm just too dumb to realize how "amazing" this is, but it genuinely sounds like at best a sound check, at worst: toddlers. Makes me angrier just writing this review.

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Mon May 01 2023
1

This is clearly a divisive album. It's definitely not for me. Unlistenable - call me a philistine, but it's a discordant cacophony. I prefer music that I enjoy.

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Sun May 07 2023
1

I find jazz boring. This is just random and noisy. I imagine people say "you just don't appreciate it" and to that I say I wouldn't want to

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Wed May 10 2023
1

Cool album art. About 10 minutes in and I feel like I'm just listening to some random jam session. All over the place. Probably extremely offensive to anyone that loves this music. 20 minutes in nothing has changed. I guess it's still just the first song though, maybe song 2 will be 27 minutes of cohesiveness. Wrong. I want to go back and update my previous ratings higher so this one can go lower. I swear there were times the trumpet was used only with the intention of startling the listener. I made it, I listened to the whole thing. Strong dislike.

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Wed May 31 2023
1

I’m sorry but I can’t listen to nearly 2 hours of tuneless jazz. I’m all for trying new music but there’s only so much I can take

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Sat Jul 01 2023
1

Every time I hear the name Miles Davis, I think of that scene from Billy Madison: "if peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis." This is classed as experimental jazz. Great, every record that is classed as experimental is actually shit, so my hopes aren't high for this one. This is the second Miles Davis album I've reviewed (the first being Birth of the Cool, which got a 2/5). It was the beginnings of Cool Jazz, this is the beginnings of a dumpster fire. I feel like Miles Davis' music is the type where it is actually horrible, but people can't bring themselves to say that because it's Miles Davis so they pretend that it's deep or philosophical. No, it's just straight up shit. They couldn't even bring themselves to play a song structure of any kind. Kindergarten kids would have a chance at making music that is alot better than this shit. There is a part in the song Bitches Brew where it sounds like Super Mario jumping through coins. There is also the whole song Feio (should be FERO maybe... The garbage company) where some instrument (I can't pinpoint what it is) spends the whole 12 minute song making dog barking noises. There is no flow to this experimental, improvisational jazz. It's just a slew of musicians playing whatever they want, and not listening to one another. Truly painful to listen to. It actually just sounds like musicians warming their instruments up before a show. 1hr 45mins is way too long for any album, let alone this dumpster fire. Overall, this is garbage. I'll never listen again, and have no clue why it is on this list. Favourite song: John McLaughlin, simply because it is only 4 minutes, compared to every other song that is 15 minutes plus...why?!? Least favourite songs: the whole record. It's all utter garbage. There is no start, middle or end to any of these songs. It's just nonsense. 1/5 because I have to.... It'd be 0 if I could.

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Thu Jul 06 2023
1

I can't stand listening to this.

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Wed Jul 12 2023
1

First album i couldn't finish. I like some Jazz genres, but this is just way to much chaos for me. Really tried to get into this one as well, but all off it just sounds like random noise to me. For now it's a 1/5, maybe someday i'll change my mind.

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Tue Sep 19 2023
1

Not my cup of tea. Gives me anxiety.

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Wed Mar 27 2024
1

Not my cuppa. I've been told if you play one note wrong it's a mistake, play two notes wrong and it's jazz. I guess I'm more of a Kind of Blue Miles Davis guy.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Closer to a 4.5, but I'm giving it 5 stars

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

not in the mood rn, but an experimental jazz classic

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Thu Apr 22 2021
5

Transcendent music from an alien mind.

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Sat Apr 10 2021
5

Miles Davis did it again. He revolutionized jazz once more. Amazing jazz album.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

A truly stunning start. And a must own LP.

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Tue Apr 06 2021
5

One of the most amazing jazz records of my experience.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Thank god. Finally something truly excellent. This is not my favorite Miles album. That would be Sketches of Spain. But compared to the rest of the albums we’ve covered on this list, this is an easy five stars. Every track is a groovy odyssey.

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Sun Feb 21 2021
5

5.0 + Thanks, Thom Yorke, for turning me on to this record in 2001. It took about a dozen listens before I understood it — at first it mostly sounded like throwing jazz instruments down flights of stairs. Now I appreciate it as a soundtrack for a fever dream. Miles Davis’s sparse and echoey trumpet takes on an eerie, menacing and strangely majestic quality, especially when contrasted with clouds of creeping electric piano lines and muted, splashy drums.

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Fri May 21 2021
5

Miles really is incredible. This album slaps.

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Mon May 24 2021
5

The album that opened my eyes to free form jazz

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

So difficult to write anything about Miles Davis, at least for me, given who he was and what he did for music (jazz and beyond) in countless ways. I had heard tracks from this album before but had not listened to it all the way through. So interesting to listen to how he reinvented his music over the years, and, wow, there is a LOT going on in these tracks. Some of it a bit too much so for me, but I also have little exposure to this style of music so that could be due to conditioning. I'll need to spend more time with this one. All those layers and textures. What a lineup, too. Miles, man...just Miles.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

I love this, the trumpet feels so crisp and cuts through the tracks it's on. It sounds like music for wii sports games in the best of ways. Multiple ~ 20 minute tracks are a bit much to just sit down and listen through but this managed to keep my attention throughout.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

If you like jazz, you'll love this Album. If you don't like jazz it's gonna be a long slog for your. This album is iconic: perfect composition, intricate rhythmic and harmonic passages, wonderful use of dissonance and phenomenal musicianship.

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

crazy instrumentation, ultra long songs that run into one another, parts don't hold together at times, but what a ride...

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Sat Jun 05 2021
5

Iconic, haunting, polished, and great listening.

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Wed Jun 02 2021
5

Nice piece of jazz, %100 recomendable and ejoyable

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Fri Jul 02 2021
5

love the album art. Big leap from the Birth of cool.

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Thu Aug 05 2021
5

Baffling at first but makes you rethink how to listen and what music can be/do.

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Sat Aug 07 2021
5

Yes, Kevin Klopf - from in the corner to on Orleans top to bottom

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Sun Oct 10 2021
5

Jazz masterpiece. Might be my favorite jazz album. 9-10/10

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Mon Oct 11 2021
5

Miles Davis, who had not missed once in over a decade thus far into his career, decides to make a jazz fusion double album to let people know who's the king around here. This comes right after the 3-year long stint of psychedelic albums that have largely put the music industry in a strangle hold. This also comes one year after In A Silent Way, which was certainly not psychadelic. By god, I think we're about to hear Miles Dewey Davis III put his whole bussy into this album. Bitches Brew is not cool; it is dynamic, bright, and unpredictable. Bitches Brew is a wildfire.` It was sparked by a drive to make jazz more relevant again, hence the fusion in jazz fusion. These are not concessions, though. Fusion is an opportunity, one that Davis is more than willing to grab and master. A lot of Bitches Brew is simply musing on the sounds. It's not for understanding, but for feeling. Let it carry you away and explore the soundscapes. Miles has created this wonderful sonic environment for you to enjoy, so enjoy it. No doubt, it'll get weird at times and it is 90 minutes long, but you'll be surprised with how quick time passes when you're digging the Brew. I'll say right now that Spanish Key is the tightest song on here, but the individual songs matter less so in the long run. You've gotta just experience this album as is. Not everyone is going to like it because it's jazz and that ends up being a devisive genre more often than not. I promise that there's nothing to "get"; you either like it or you don't. I like it a lot.

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Sun Oct 17 2021
5

Excellent jazz. I don't know nearly enough about jazz to give a "real" critique, but it's one of maybe two or three jazz albums I already had in my collection before coming across it on this list, and I actually come back and listen to it every so often (unlike many other albums on this list).

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Fri Oct 22 2021
5

4.5 Stars. A genre defying fusion of jazz and rock classic. The more involved and immersed you become with this album, the more you're rewarded with its form and substance. This can be either great late night chill-out music, or an album that gives you a greater appreciation for jazz as a whole. My only critique is that it doesn't feel focused as a whole. Favorite tracks: Spanish Key, Miles Runs the Voodoo Down, Sanctuary.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
5

I'm a jazz person. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, the list could go on

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Sat Oct 30 2021
5

"Directions in music by Miles Davis". A massive album, dark and funky and rock-influenced. This set the scene for the fusion of jazz and rock - wait, come back! It's a really good listen! Relentless, yet swinging, packed with ideas and grooves, spacious, full of interesting sounds and arrangements. A deep set of sounds.

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