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IASPM UK and Ireland Biennial Conference: Popular Music: Creativity, Practice and Praxis

Paper

Susanne Anders (s.anders1310@icloud.com), University of Salzburg

Teos Brew The Re-composition of Bitches Brew in


the Studio
Table of Contents
1. Brief introduction to the album Bitches Brew
2. Pharaohs Dance example
3. Bitches Brew structured through edits
4. Some remarks on the live versions of Bitches Brew
But firstly I want to give some remarks on the title of my paper. Jack DeJohnette
stated in a feature in German Jazz Magazine JAZZthing & blue rhythm that after the
sessions for the album Bitches Brew which took place at Columbia Studio B in
New York City from the 19th until the 21st of August 1969 Teo Macero (who was
the producer) took the tapes and cut out the parts he did not like. He then mixed
the songs and sent them to Miles to listen to them. DeJohnette continues and I
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quote: Miles was not patient enough for this kind of work [] Those statements

Jack DeJohnette, cited after: Reimer, Arne, American Jazz Heroes, Staffel 2, Teil 6. Jack DeJohnette, JAZZthing & blue rhythm, May 2015, p. 56, translation: mine.

led me to the conclusion that Teo Macero decided where and what kinds of edits
were made. Thus the title Teos Brew. As I was told recently that Miles wrote a
letter to Teo Macero indicating the changes he wanted to have made to the material, the statement by DeJohnette was obviously misleading. This corresponds to
Harvey Brooks remembering that Miles knew what he wanted to do he had a plan
before he went into the studio. I heard him argue with Teo over where an edit
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should be when they were assembling the album.

As I said in my abstract Miles Daviss double LP Bitches Brew which was published on the 30th of March 1970 does not only take a special position in Miless
own discography but is said to be a starting point for the so-called Jazz Rock or
Fusion Jazz. Like the previous Album In a Silent Way (published one year earlier) it
combines Jazz with Rock elements.
But compared to In a Silent Way there were some changes regarding the musicians on Bitches Brew: Although most of the musicians stayed the same namely
Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul on piano, John
McLaughlin on guitar, and Dave Holland on bass HerbieHancock was replaced
by Larry Young on piano and Jack DeJohnette entered instead of Tony Williams on
the drums. Additionally a number of musicians was added to the group: Harvey
Brooks who also played bass on Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone played the
electric bass, with Don Alias and Lenny White two additional drummers came in,
Jumma Santos joined for percussion, and Bennie Maupin played the bass clarinet
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which added to quote DeJohnette again the mysterious sounds .


The recording sessions for this album are said to have been three days of improvisation in the studio. Or as Harvey Brooks has pointed out and I quote: Miles

Harvey Brooks, cited after: Belden, Bob. Miles Davis: The Bitches Brew Sessions, in Booklet of:
Davis, Miles. The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (1998), 4 CDs ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy, COL 516251 2, 2004), p. 82.
Jack DeJohnette, cited after: Reimer, Arne, American Jazz Heroes, Staffel 2, Teil 6. Jack DeJohnette, JAZZthing & blue rhythm, May 2015, p. 56, translation: mine.

was recording like the way we would write songs. You know, you just jam until you
find something and that becomes part of the song. He would have us play and we
would finish a section and he would say Go on, Go on! and we would keep playing.
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However, the edits in the studio especially in the case of Pharaohs Dance and

Bitches Brew are obvious.


As one example I want to pick out a part of Pharaohs Dance. It starts at 829
and ends at 840.

spectrogram 1: Pharaoh's Dance (827''1559'00''887).


This phrase begins with a piano accord which is followed by a short solo motive by
Miles which also includes the characteristic half tone glissando Miles used since
the 1965 album E.S.P.. Then you can hear a short piano motive which Bob Belden

Harvey Brooks, cited after: Belden, Bob. Miles Davis: The Bitches Brew Sessions, in Booklet of:
Davis, Miles. The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (1998), 4 CDs ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy, COL 516251 2, 2004), p. 82.

calls 2-beat phrase in his remarks discussing the recording and post-production
of the album in the booklet of The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (which were
published in 1998). In the middle of this motiveyou can hear someone talking in
the background. Unfortunately one cannot understand what is said, maybe it is an
instruction or something similar. The small yellow markers above the waveform
show where the voice can be heard. The whole phrase can be heard again some
seconds later right after those loops which Bob Belden calls echo trumpet. As
you can see, this second phrase is an exact repetition of the first one including
the voice. At the end there are added four loops of the 2-beat phrase also including the voice. Since in the loops the voice is barely hearable I assume that Teo
Macero tried to eliminate it.
Now for the title song of the album, Bitches Brew. Belden offers a brief description of the original and of the final structure in his before mentioned liner notes.
Since I have no access to the original tapes I have to believe him when he writes
that and I quote: The rubato section (part 2) was assembled to a length of 6:00
from two takes. Then, for reasons unknown, the back half [] begins the perfor5

mance. I put all edits Belden mentions in his notes into this spectrogram of the
whole song:

Belden, Bob. Miles Davis: The Bitches Brew Sessions, in Booklet of: Davis, Miles. The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (1998), 4 CDs ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy, COL 516251 2,
2004), p. 82.

spectrogram 2: Bitches Brew.


The song starts and ends with the back half of the original part 2. In the middle
of the piece the first half of this second part can be heard (1436). The original part
1 follows the starting back half (250) and the first half (1720). Additionally it can
be heard at about 1328. At about 1031 starts a two-bar phrase played by Miles I
want to show closer:

spectrogram 3: two-bar phrase.


As you can see this phrase is looped three times and I quote Belden again: to
create the sensation of melody, a phrase that is organized by editing.

Four of the six songs of the album were performed live as well namely Bitches Brew itself, Spanish Key, Miles Runs the Voodoo Down, and Sanctuary. All of
those except Bitches Brew could be heard in performances which took place
before the album sessions took place in August 1969.

Belden, Bob. Miles Davis: The Bitches Brew Sessions, in Booklet of: Davis, Miles. The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (1998), 4 CDs ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy, COL 516251 2,
2004), p. 82.

Since of the two songs I talked about only Bitches Brew was performed live I want
to give some short remarks on those performances of the piece I was able to listen
to which are the bold ones on this list:
- 04-11-1969, Tivoli, Copenhagen
- 05-11-1969, Folkets Hus, Stockholm
- 07-11-1969, Berliner Jazztage
- 07-03-1970, Fillmore East
- 10-04-1970, Fillmore West
- 17-06-1970, Fillmore East
- 18-06-1970, Fillmore East
- 19-06-1970, Fillmore East
- 20-06-1970, Fillmore East
- 18-08-1970, Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
- 29-08-1970, Isle of Wright
- 15-10-1970, Fillmore West
- 22-10-1971, Newport Jazz Festival in Europe, Neue Stadthalle, Dietikon, Switzerland
Since at latest the 5th of November 1969 the live performances of Bitches Brew
start with the same bass notes as the recorded and edited piece which is, if I may
say this again, the back half of the second part of the song on the master take.
The concerts in autumn 1969 were played by the Second Miles Davis Quintet
which consisted ofWayne Shorter on Saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron
Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. Whereas the performance at Fillmore
West on the 15th of October 1970 starts with the groovier part 1. Miles now plays
live performances with electric instead of double bass and additional percussionists. The presumably latest live performance of this song on the 22nd of October
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1971 starts with some Wah-Wah effects from Miles he used to amplify his trumpet
since around December 1970. At about 200 the bass of the first part enters.
Franz Kerschbaumer writes in his book Miles Davis: Stilkritische Untersuchungen zur musikalischen Entwicklung seines Personalstils which was released in
1978 as part 5 of the Studies in Jazz Research that the style Miles uses during his
concerts in 1969 is very much the same as from 1965 onwards. This means the musicians played as a classical quintet and Free Jazz elements which were quite
common with other Jazz musicians of that time such as Ornette Coleman did not
occur at the concerts until 1970. This corresponds to my feeling that the later live
recordings of the song Bitches Brew are somewhat funkier than the earlier ones.
And with the fact that for the concerts in the late 70s at least one additional percussionist was hired, Dave Holland on double bass was replaced by Michael Henderson on electric bass, and very often Keith Jarrett who played the organ then
joined in too.
Jack DeJohnette who played live shows with Miles from summer 1969 until
1970 said in the interview mentioned before that and I quote: With Miles the
music changed in every concert we played. He never gave instructions but lead the
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group through his playing.

I have to investigate further how the live performances which took place before
the recording sessions in August 1969 differ from the album versions and the later
live performances. Sanctuary even was recorded in the studio before: at the 15th of
February 1968 a first version of the song was played by the Second Miles Davis
Quintet. On this recording George Benson joined the quintet for the guitar part.
This early version can be found on the compilation Circle in the Round which was
released in November 1979 and surely needs a closer look at.

Jack DeJohnette, cited after: Reimer, Arne, American Jazz Heroes, Staffel 2, Teil 6. Jack DeJohnette, JAZZthing & blue rhythm, May 2015, p. 55, translation: mine.

References
- Davis, Miles. In a Silent Way (1969), CD ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy,
86556, 2002).
- Davis, Miles. Bitches Brew (1970), 2 CDs ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy,
C2K 065774 2, 1999).
- Davis, Miles. The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (1998), 4 CDs ([New
York]: Columbia/Legacy, COL 516251 2, 2004).
- Davis, Miles. Bitches Brew. 40th Anniversary, 2 LPs + 3 CDs + DVD ([New
York]: Columbia/Legacy, 88697 70274 2, 2010).
- Davis, Miles. Bitches Brew Live, CD ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy,
88697 81485 2, 2011).
- Davis, Miles. Miles Davis Quintet Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2, 3 CDs + DVD ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy, 88725 41853 2,
2013).
- Davis, Miles. Miles at the Fillmore Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series
Vol. 3, 4 CDs ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy, 8 87654 33812, 2014).
- Davis, Miles. Live at the Fillmore West 15-10-70, CD (Hi Hat, HHCD001,
2015).
- Davis, Miles. Miles Davis at Newport 19551975: The Bootleg Series Vol.
4, 4 CDs ([New York]: Columbia/Legacy, 8 88750 8 1952, 2015).
- Kerschbaumer, Franz, Miles Davis: Stilkritische Untersuchungen zur musikalischen Entwicklung seines Personalstils (Graz: Akademische Druck- u.
Verlagsanstalt, 1978).
- Reimer, Arne, American Jazz Heroes, Staffel 2, Teil 6. Jack DeJohnette,
JAZZthing & blue rhythm, May 2015, pp. 5456.