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Bitches Brood

Today’s heavy hitters discuss the influence of Miles Davis’ fusion masterwork

Bitches Brew Revisited band

Graham Haynes was 8 years old when his mother took him to a concert by the Miles Davis Quintet in New York’s Central Park on July 7, 1969, just weeks before the recording of Bitches Brew. The band was already testing the new material as it mixed “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” “Spanish Key” and “Sanctuary” in with “No Blues” and “Masqualero.” Though Graham’s father, drummer Roy Haynes, had played with Davis, Graham’s mother had actually known Miles before she met Roy, and wanted her son to hear her old friend. “I’d heard a lot of music around our house,” the younger Haynes admits, “but this was pretty out there. What I remember about it more than anything was they played one piece for the whole concert. It was really several pieces, but they didn’t stop; they just kept going. When I got Bitches Brew a few years later, it struck me as a free-jazz record, like Sun Ra, with some psychedelia mixed in.”

The experience stayed with the youngster. He grew up to play trumpet and then cornet, and integrated electronics into his compositions. This past January at the Winter Jazzfest in Lower Manhattan, Haynes unveiled his latest project, Bitches Brew Revisited, a band devoted to live performances of music from that album and music in the spirit of the album. Joining the leader were guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, reed player Antoine Roney, drummer Cindy Blackman, keyboardist Marco Benevento, percussionist Adam Rudolph and turntablist DJ Logic. “Logic was the wild card,” Haynes explains. “We wanted to reproduce the music from the record, but we also wanted to take it somewhere else. I’m pretty sure if Miles was making music today, he would be working with samples, cutting up and DJs.” (The band performed on June 19 in Brooklyn as part of this year’s CareFusion Jazz Festival New York.)

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