Honoring Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew on its 40th Anniversary

miles davis bitches brew 40th anniversary
Don Cheadle, Jeremy Sole, Henry Rollins, Maggie Lepique, Bennie Maupin, Vince Wilburn, Jr., and Erin Davis discuss Bitches Brew on its 40th anniversary at the GRAMMY Museum. Photo: Earl Gibson.

When Bitches Brew came out in 1970, the critics were split and many fans were turned off to hear Miles Davis turn toward a definitively more electric sound. But it became Davis’ first gold record — probably because so many people just had to hear it for themselves.

Bitches not only marked a major turning point in Miles Davis’ sound but also laid the foundation for the jazz-rock “fusion” sound to come while featuring grooves and sequences that would inspire the hip-hop generation. It’s 40th anniversary is an ideal time to honor the record and Sony and the Davis family have done just that, capped by last week’s panel at the GRAMMY Museum and Sony Legacy’s release of a deluxe edition featuring a bonus DVD of the group performing in Copenhagen a couple months after the recording sessions (see a clip from it below).

The 40th Anniversary of Bitches Brew has been celebrated in many ways including last month’s remix performance featuring J-Rocc at Sunset Junction and Dogfish Head Brewery even released its own special edition Bitches Brew.

But the program at the GRAMMY Museum was special thanks to a panel which included Davis’ son Erin, nephew and ‘Vince Wilburn, Jr., Bennie Maupin, who played bass clarinet on Bitches, and drop-ins from actor Don Cheadle and Davis’ first wife Frances. Cheadle is planning on starring in and directing a Miles Davis movie.

The best anecdotes came from Bennie Maupin, who along with Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul and Dave Holland played a central role in the 3-day recording session as the summer of 1969 came to a close. Nobody really knew what was supposed to happen. “We discovered the power of non-verbal communication,” said Maupin. It wasn’t a marathon three days, Maupin explained, Miles was all business, the sessions would start at 10 and end at 2 and then he’d practice his boxing. “What I remember about it was that I don’t really remember anything.”

Originally posted at LAist.

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