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Box Sets 2007: Funky Sh!t & Tragedy Galore

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Miles Davis The Complete On The Corner Sessions

Some of the fun in roaming through retrospective box sets is finding unissued tracks that add to the music?s ongoing story. In the case of the famed trumpeter?s most experimental music, that track may be ?Mr. Foster.? For 15 minutes Davis wrings blood from his horn, which is hooked-up to a wah-wah pedal and surfing a web of nasty funk pulses driven by drummer Al Foster, whose relentless churning earns itself some props in the song title. It?s snarling yet graceful, obnoxious yet entrancing. This set is the rock-jazz motherlode, the record that critics have been creaming over for the last few months. When Davis made this stuff, in a string of studio dates that stretched from ?72 ? ?75, he was milking Sly and Family Stone, digging the drones of Indian music, and swimming in a sea of funk. Now-exalted, it was snubbed by the era’s jazz fans as being crazy-ass street shit. The naysayers were right: the jams are a jumble of rhythms, glowing with black pride and an acknowledging all things sensual. That’s why hip-hop heads get on board so quickly. Loaded with tension, they glorify the groove and stick it full of glowing abstractions. Put on one of these six CDs, press play, and a whole afternoon will disappear real quick.

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