Miles Davis' Opus Bitches Brew Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

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Miles Davis' Opus <i>Bitches Brew</i> Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Right at the dawning of a new decade, Miles Davis put out a challenging, dark album that redefined how we thought of jazz and birthed the jazz-rock genre. Bitches Brew captured the tumultuous, difficult feelings coming out of the ‘60s, a time of war and big movements for social justice, with a psychedelic and mind-bending fusion of Latin influence and electric guitar. It was, and still is, a confusing album, one that received befuddled reception upon its release due to its ability to alienate in just a few minutes.

Today, that album turns 50 years old. Released on March 30, 1970 via Columbia Records, the record is what many consider to be Davis’ finest work. To celebrate, a small amount of The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions 4-disc box sets have been made available for purchase through Davis’ website. The box set includes the full album as well as all songs recorded by Davis from late 1969 to early 1970. New Bitches Brew merchandise and the double LP will also be made available.

Along with this, Davis’ 1969 performance live in Copenhagen has been posted to YouTube, a rare rendition of his “lost quintet” performance, which was never officially recorded live by Columbia.

Perhaps most notably is the upcoming release of Stanley Nelson’s Grammy-nominated documentary Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool. It will be released officially to Blu-ray on April 10, and is currently streaming in the U.K. on Netflix and BBC iPlayer and in the U.S. on PBS Passport. You can view a clip below taken from the documentary of Nelson discussing Bitches Brew, sandwiched between a statement of Nelson’s thoughts on the album’s anniversary and a 1986 Davis performance from the Paste archives.

“During this difficult and uncertain time, I like so many others have found solace in music and film. My heart has felt so full in recent days since many folks have reached out after finding their own comfort from streaming my film Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool. We can learn so much from Miles, but what we should all be thinking about in this current moment is his immense ability to constantly expand his mind and creative capacity during tough times in his own life. No album better exemplifies that than his career-resetting, psychedelic opus Bitches Brew — and on its 50th anniversary I know what I’ll be jamming out at home to.”

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