The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles

University of Chicago Press
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Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew is one of the most iconic albums in American music, the preeminent landmark and fertile seedbed of jazz-fusion. Fans have been fortunate in the past few years to gain access to Davis’s live recordings from this time, when he was working with an ensemble that has come to be known as the Lost Quintet. In this book, jazz historian and musician Bob Gluck explores the performances of this revolutionary group—Davis’s first electric band—to illuminate the thinking of one of our rarest geniuses and, by extension, the extraordinary transition in American music that he and his fellow players ushered in.

Gluck listens deeply to the uneasy tension between this group’s driving rhythmic groove and the sonic and structural openness, surprise, and experimentation they were always pushing toward. There he hears—and outlines—a fascinating web of musical interconnection that brings Davis’s funk-inflected sensibilities into conversation with the avant-garde worlds that players like Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane were developing. Going on to analyze the little-known experimental groups Circle and the Revolutionary Ensemble, Gluck traces deep resonances across a commercial gap between the celebrity Miles Davis and his less famous but profoundly innovative peers. The result is a deeply attuned look at a pivotal moment when once-disparate worlds of American music came together in explosively creative combinations.
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About the author

Bob Gluck is a pianist, composer, jazz historian, and rabbi, as well as professor of music at the State University of New York, Albany. He is the author of You’ll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jan 11, 2016
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780226303390
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / General
Music / Genres & Styles / Jazz
Music / History & Criticism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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As the 1960s ended, Herbie Hancock embarked on a grand creative experiment. Having just been dismissed from the celebrated Miles Davis Quintet, he set out on the road, playing with his first touring group as a leader until he eventually formed what would become a revolutionary band. Taking the Swahili name Mwandishi, the group would go on to play some of the most innovative music of the 1970s, fusing an assortment of musical genres, American and African cultures, and acoustic and electronic sounds into groundbreaking experiments that helped shape the American popular music that followed. In You’ll Know When You Get There, Bob Gluck offers the first comprehensive study of this influential group, mapping the musical, technological, political, and cultural changes that they not only lived in but also effected. Beginning with Hancock’s formative years as a sideman in bebop and hard bop ensembles, his work with Miles Davis, and the early recordings under his own name, Gluck uncovers the many ingredients that would come to form the Mwandishi sound. He offers an extensive series of interviews with Hancock and other band members, the producer and engineer who worked with them, and a catalog of well-known musicians who were profoundly influenced by the group. Paying close attention to the Mwandishi band’s repertoire, he analyzes a wide array of recordings—many little known—and examines the group’s instrumentation, their pioneering use of electronics, and their transformation of the studio into a compositional tool. From protofunk rhythms to synthesizers to the reclamation of African identities, Gluck tells the story of a highly peculiar and thrillingly unpredictable band that became a hallmark of American genius.


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