MILES DAVIS The Complete On The Corner Sessions (2007)

The Complete On The Corner Sessions (2007)
#8 Of 8

This is where Miles went off the deep end. Forced into retirement for 6 years, Davis’ last raging electric music was a final, obliterating assault on jazz and the fiercest music of his career. The sticker on this 6CD box tells us that “Miles Goes Beyond The Outer Limits Of Jazz, Rock And Funk!” And that’s actually pretty accurate. By 1972-1975 (the span of these sessions) however, there were plenty who had already  gone over the line in jazz, rock or funk. Miles was just doing it all at the same time… and these cluttered, multi-percussive jams sound like it. I’ve always been magnetically drawn to the albums these sessions spawned (On The Corner, Big Fun and, especially, Get Up With It), but can offer no scholarly explanation for the music’s importance. I just like Miles’ peerless way of putting together intensely interesting bands, then making them play. The 32-minute atmospheric stoner space jam, “He Loved Him Madly,” is essential listening, but there are also 18 jams ranging from 10min to a half-hour each to choose from. Thom Jurek summed up the proceedings nicely, stating… “Davis stripped everything back to endlessly repetitive, circular, and hypnotic rhythm… minimal grooves with an array of percussionists along with a trap kit to shore it up like an impenetrable wall. The use of everything from cowbells and woodblocks to congas and tablas enabled the musicians to dig deep into the territory of beat and rhythm. Melody was an accident. Chords changes were nonexistent; soloing contributed to the atmosphere in short bursts and was layered atop caverns of sound by whatever instrument was called up at the time to play. Otherwise they laid out, or played some kind of rhythmic pattern to enhance the atmospheric groove, which was sometimes nearly spiritual, and sometimes downright freaky and spooky. The groups were ever-changing; 27 musicians played in those 16 sessions, and individual tracks would employ groups from five to 12 players. The names of those players are synonymous with the groundbreaking expressions of electric and acoustic creative jazz and funk in the ’70s and ’80s: Jack DeJohnette, Badal Roy, John McLaughlin, David Liebman, Carlos Garnett, Mtume, Collin Walcott, Pete Cosey, Reggie Lucas, Dominique Gaumont, Bennie Maupin, Sonny Fortune, Khalil Balakrishna, Al Foster, Lonnie Liston Smith, Harold “Ivory” Williams, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Cornell Dupree, Bernard Purdie, Billy Hart, and Don Alias.” This one is still pretty expensive at Amazon, HERE. Great embossed colored steel box, incredible images, 120 page book.

One The Corner [Unedited Master] (19:27)
On The Corner (5:17)
One And One [Unedited Master] (17:58)
Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X [Unedited Master] (23:22)
Jabali (11:05)

Ife (21:36)
Chieftain (14:40)
Rated X (6:52)
Turnaround (17:18)
U-Turnaround (8:28)

Billy Preston (12:35)
The Hen (12:37)
Big Fun/Holly-wuud [Take 2] (6:34)
Big Fun/Holly-wuud [Take 3] (7:08)
Peace (7:04)
Mr. Foster (15:16)

Calypso Frelimo (32:07)
He Loved Him Madly (32:14)

Maiysha (14:54)
Mtume (15:10)
Mtume [Take 11] (6:53)
Hip-Skip (19:01)
What They Do (11:46)
Minnie (3:55)

Red China Blues (4:09)
On The Corner/New York Girl/Thinkin’ Of One Thing And Doin’ Another/Vote For Miles (19:59)
Black Satin (5:20)
One And One (6:10)
Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X (23:20)
Big Fun (2:33)
Holly-wuud (2:55)


  • Willard
    March 16, 2012 - 11:18 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Adam Crocker
    March 16, 2012 - 11:39 | Permalink

    “The 32-minute atmospheric stoner space jam, “He Loved Him Madly,” is essential listening.”

    Indeed. I remember first buying Get Up With It because Robert Quine mentioned it among his all-time favourite albums (his endorsement of The Complete Quartets With Sonny Clarke was also what got me into Grant Greene). Quine said of “He Loved Him Madly”:

    Maybe his chops are a little shot on ‘He Loved Him Madly’ but emotionally, when the smoke has cleared, that will be regarded as one of his most profound statements. You could listen to it when you’re depressed, when you’re having sex or whatever.

    And certainly the minimalist, textural approach of the song – which I find more reminiscent of Kosmische Muzik and ambient than jazz – are very apparent in Quine’s out-of-print solo albums like Basic with Fred Maher.

    My jaw literally dropped when I first heard it. There was no driving rhythm. Seemingly no extroverted improvisation. No horns that my ears could hear (though the credits swear that Miles played electric trumpet, I guess that’s what the wah-wah did). The drumming was limited to these skeletal rolls. A droning organ permeates the entire song. while Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas traced out these weird, creeping little guitar lines like men desparately crawling through a dense, miasmic cocaine-fog.

    • Willard
      March 16, 2012 - 11:55 | Permalink

      Thanks for the assessment.

      • Adam Crocker
        March 16, 2012 - 13:49 | Permalink

        You’re welcome, and maybe next time I got on a long-winded rant about my musical likes I’ll finally get the code right. :-P

        • Willard
          March 16, 2012 - 14:02 | Permalink

          Actually, I have all-powerful capabilities on my end to fix that… and did.

  • Colin H
    March 16, 2012 - 18:17 | Permalink

    The sample you chose to link brought my daughter (who just turned 2 this week) running in from the other room to groove out, she hasn’t done that since the Faust, and now she\s bobbing her head and yelling “I LIKE that!”

  • Colin H
    March 16, 2012 - 18:23 | Permalink

    …and then, she ran to her little toy drum kit and started hammering away.

    • Willard
      March 16, 2012 - 18:31 | Permalink

      You’re gonna have a weird one Colin. I knew that with Faust.

  • Colin H
    March 16, 2012 - 19:19 | Permalink

    in the end, she had me play it back 3 times, before she got hungry enough to go eat her supper instead.

    • Willard
      March 16, 2012 - 19:50 | Permalink

      That was a track from the unreleased Miles For Kids album.

  • buzz baby jesus
    March 16, 2012 - 22:27 | Permalink

    My favorite jazz kind of isn’t. This is the shit.

  • buzzbabyjesus
    March 17, 2012 - 13:09 | Permalink

    I’m hearing all the stuff I only knew from Panthalassa. Right now it’s “Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X [Unedited Master]”. It’s crazy some people thought this was lame back in the day. It’s frying my brains. In a good way.

    • Willard
      March 17, 2012 - 15:01 | Permalink

      It wasn’t thought of as lame, so much as non-musical. All the melody was gone and the oldsters just didn’t know what to make of that.

  • buzzbabyjesus
    March 17, 2012 - 16:55 | Permalink

    I’ve been listening to it for the last 4 hours and It’s my new favorite music. As always, Thanks!

    • Willard
      March 17, 2012 - 19:00 | Permalink

      It’s whack stuff.

  • Colin H
    March 17, 2012 - 18:22 | Permalink

    I had a great time with some of that at work last night. Gonna be ny new cooking music for a while, I think. Particularly liked “Black Satin”. I’m going to have to track down what the actual released album was among these things.

    • Willard
      March 17, 2012 - 18:59 | Permalink

      Unless I’m mistaken, that would be the On The Corner album proper.

    • buzzbabyjesus
      March 17, 2012 - 23:49 | Permalink

      It looks like that might be tracks 2,3,4,5 on disc six. The song titles and lengths are right, according to wiki.

      • Willard
        March 18, 2012 - 00:17 | Permalink

        That Wiki certainly is handy.

        • buzzbabyjesus
          March 18, 2012 - 10:30 | Permalink

          Further research confirms. Tracks 2,3,4,5 on disc six are indeed the stereo LP master of ON THE CORNER .

  • Steve626
    March 18, 2012 - 10:15 | Permalink

    Willard – Thanks for the significant upgrades for Miles — very important music and much appreciated.

  • Sefton
    March 18, 2012 - 15:18 | Permalink

    Thanks, Captain. I´m still fliping out listening to the Davis Evans Box Set!

    • Willard
      March 18, 2012 - 18:39 | Permalink

      I’m the same way. When I dug it out to post I couldn’t stop listening. Until I went to the other boxes.

  • Don G. O'Vanni
    March 19, 2012 - 01:44 | Permalink

    Miles. That motherfucker could play like a motherfucker.

  • buzzbabyjesus
    March 19, 2012 - 10:00 | Permalink

    I’m drooling in anticipation of the cellar door.

  • March 19, 2012 - 15:18 | Permalink


    Thanks buddy!

  • Brian
    March 19, 2012 - 21:01 | Permalink

    Thanks for all these W. Discovered the Miles Box Sets when I finally went online in the early 2000s. There’s a great eerie mood going on when we get to creep into these long form rehearsals & complete takes. Headphones increase the effect. So glad to have another re-upgrade for the newer computer.

    For Pete Cosey madness check out his work on that Miles From India tribute album of last 5 years or so. He has the solo that steals the whole album.

  • ate2zee
    March 19, 2012 - 22:47 | Permalink

    Thanks for On The Corner. I also appreciate reading your comments on this one as I didn’t know much about it. Actually I read all the comments–they got me laughing. Its a good thing you can never have too much Miles–thanks to you I’m now doing well in that department.

    • Willard
      March 19, 2012 - 23:50 | Permalink

      I read all your comments, too.

  • r
    March 20, 2012 - 07:11 | Permalink

    Hmmm. My interest peaked at Jack Johnson – incredible rhythmic material that just kept on building. Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson box sets are part of my essential listening. I’ve got Live Evil and On the Corner on vinyl, but haven’t been tempted to play them or dub them for years. However, this opportunity….

    Thanks, I’ll give it a go and see what twenty years of distance gives.


  • r
    March 21, 2012 - 08:10 | Permalink

    Actually, browsed thru the music today. Damn, it’s good! Much much better than my juvenile youth remembered. woo Hoo. Thank you. Maybe I’ll even add it to my Amazon purchases nest time it goes on special.

  • Kwai Chang
    July 16, 2012 - 13:17 | Permalink

    A million miles away…is not just a plimsouls song
    (Thanks, Grateful…and Willard)
    I love this box

  • Anonymous
    July 21, 2012 - 11:05 | Permalink

    A couple months later and this is still floating my boat, as it were.

  • Slidewell
    March 18, 2014 - 16:31 | Permalink

    It’s taken me all these years to get past my expectations of this music. I had no problem with the ‘rock’ thing, or the ‘no melody thing’, I heard that this Miles gettin’ funky, but my impression for YEARS was that this shit is NOT funky! But, that was due to expecting it sound like Miles playing with Graham Central Station or something like that. Finally my ears have loosened up and are diggin’ this deep and mysterious music for the just what it is: ground-breaking and beautiful (in it’s own prickly way).

    • Willard
      March 18, 2014 - 16:57 | Permalink

      You’re not alone. It took a LOT of people a lot of time to digest this stuff. Anything that doesn’t fit into the norm is going to take some of us some time. And you’re right… these days, it just sounds magical.

  • Slidewell
    March 18, 2014 - 17:30 | Permalink

    Oh! And thank you so much for sharing this! But, I’m afraid I’m going to have to find a physical copy, (hopefully, if I’m lucky, for under $100) because I NEED the liner notes! (The snazzy box is a gotta-have, too!)

    • Willard
      March 18, 2014 - 17:37 | Permalink

      All the Miles boxes are never leaving my collection. The liners are good and the boxes are well designed… though… the small size CD-sized “books” are a pain to read because of the way they’re bound together. But, that’s a minor complaint. Have you looked for a PDF? It’s not the same, of course, but for as much as I access the liners myself, it might save $100 (times 8, if you’re getting the other boxes, too).

    • Willard
      March 18, 2014 - 17:52 | Permalink

      It’s funny… I clicked on the Amazon link to see if it was still good and I got an “update” message from Amazon. Apparently I bought this through them in Nov, 2007, for $79.98 new. Now it’s between $130 & $150.

  • Grant
    July 10, 2014 - 21:28 | Permalink

    Great share – looking forward to hearing this! (Your reminder about these links in your YO MILES! post reminded me)

    • Willard
      July 10, 2014 - 21:40 | Permalink

      Always gotta push the archives. People tend to forget about what’s buried around here.

  • Grant
    July 12, 2014 - 09:35 | Permalink

    So true! And REEEALLY enjoying this one. Thanks again Willard.

  • Supersonic75
    January 23, 2015 - 06:49 | Permalink

    I hadn’t heard “On The Corner” in ages (it was a big favorite of mine when I was 14 y/o or so, mostly because it was so damn out there, loud, and unclassifiable to my young ears – it sorta still is, I guess). As I was surfing around the ‘net, I realized that I’d never heard this box. So I searched a little more and that took me right here, and as is so often the case it was another lovely surprise on your site, which never ceases to amaze in its breadth and quality. Every time I take a look there’s something fantastic that I hadn’t noticed before. Thanks so much for these killer posts and for keeping them alive!!

  • jack bond
    November 25, 2015 - 10:05 | Permalink


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