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Big Fun Extra tracks, Original recording remastered

32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, August 1, 2000
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Editorial Reviews


A collection of material recorded between 1969 and 1972, the period just after Bitches Brew, Big Fun was not issued until 1974. By then, Davis had moved on in other directions, so it became a much-neglected album. The compositions are too scattered to maintain a focus, but there is much to hear within. For example, this was the album that introduced "Ife," a piece recorded during the On the Corner sessions. Built on the simplest of bass vamps and the skimpiest of melodies, it nonetheless was enough to incite Miles's playing. It stayed in his performance book for years, and turned up on other recordings, such as Dark Magus, Agharta, Pangaea, and In Concert. "Go Ahead, John," from the Jack Johnson period in 1970, has a sublimely nasty (and sonically infuriating) guitar solo from John McLaughlin. This digitally remastered edition of Big Fun also contains the bonus tracks "Recollection," "Trevere," "The Little Blue Frog," and "Yaphet" (all of which were also included on the recently issued Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, along with "Great Expectations," "Recollections," "Orange Lady," and "Lonely Fire"). --John F. Szwed

Disc: 1
1. Great Expectations
2. Ife
3. Recollections [*]
4. Trevere [*]
Disc: 2
1. Go Ahead John
2. Lonely Fire
3. The Little Blue Frog [*]
4. Yaphet [*]

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 1, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy
  • ASIN: B00004VWA6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,564 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By MBW on August 4, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album in London earlier this summer, where it has been available for some time, and is actually quite popular. This sales clerk nodded and said he thought it was an excellent album (or, I believe more accurately "that's a good one, there"). I also think it is an excellent album, though a bit scattered and disorganized in the arrangement of the songs and especially in the personnel and set information, and if you are interested in Miles Davis' funk 70s period (from Bitches Brew to Pangea) then I suggest buying this album. Like much of Miles Davis' music of this period, the interest doesn't lie in the melodies, or in the individual solos, but in two things; the overall buildup and cataclysmic weight of the songs themselves (all over 20 minutes), and the short sections where the whole band just seems to catch the groove (as Miles would say) and you feel it pass over you as well. It's a hard feeling to describe, and not everyone can catch it, but it's really what music is all about-and you can find it on this album. The music of this period has been described as 'seismic' or 'earth-shattering'; perhaps a bit overwinded, but accurate nonetheless.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By The Groove on November 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
If the idea of listening to an album featuring tracks that clock in at least 20 minutes doesn't appeal to you, "Big Fun" may not be your type of groove. This is not an album for those who suffer from a short attention span. It's not for those who still have conservative notions about what jazz should sound like. And it's certainly not for those who aren't open-minded enough to appreciate Miles Davis' era called the "electric" period. "Big Fun" ranks up there with "Bitches Brew" and "Get Up With It" as another double-CD fusion masterpiece. Miles's trumpeting is still in exceptional form, but on this album, he incorporates rock, funk, and a dash of blues into the mix. Many of the players that appeared on the "Bitches Brew" album return here, as well as Herbie Hancock. "Go Ahead John," which is the opening track on disc two, defies categorization: for nearly 30 minutes, the track swings stylishly between rock, soul and jazz featuring fierce electric guitars, great drum work, fine trumpeting from Davis, and nice sax from Steve Grossman. "Lonely Fire" is a seductive, near-ambient work of minimalism showing Davis on trumpet, Bernie Maupin on bass, as well as some light percussion. "Ife," which was written while Davis was working on his "On the Corner" album, is a suave and funky number with "1970s" written all over it, featuring a great bassline from Michael Henderson. "Big Fun," which is digitally remastered, also has four additional rare tracks which also appear on the "Bitches Brew" box set (also a must-own). While other musicians were settling into their comfort zones, Miles Davis continued to push boundaries and defy musical traditions. "Big Fun" is an incredible work of fusion that's almost guaranteed to get heavy rotation on your CD player.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Abarta (jfullon@earthlink.net) on December 4, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Recorded right around the same time as Bitches Brew, this album has spent the last 29 years hiding in the shadows. Because it wasn't originally released until 1974, I think these tracks were thought of by the public as being "throw aways". They're not.
Big Fun moves forward from Bitches Brew by incorporating a sitar, and yet still manages to caputre a lot of the same moodiness found on In A Silent Way.
I'm thrilled that 3/4 of Big Fun is now available on the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, but this is one album that should also be made available domestically with its original packaging.
Dig it!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By finulanu on July 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I'm not big on fusion, but I can tell you that Big Fun is one of my favorite albums from the period, along with In a Silent Way. One of Miles' more misunderstood works, and I'm glad it was given such a good reissue.
The record starts off with Joe Zawinul's best song (at least his best song with Miles), Great Expectations. Recorded shortly after Bitches Brew, it's a two-part suite, the second half being the Weather Report classic Orange Lady. It's arguably the best song on the album: twenty-seven minutes, and I don't want it any shorter. I especially like the Indian instrumentation.
Next up is the slow, spacey, funky Ife, an outtake from the On the Corner sessions. I really wish Miles had decided to include it on that album, as it could have saved it from being a total disaster. Recollections (again coming from the period just after the Bitches Brew sessions) is next up, a moody Zawinul classic. This, along with three other songs (I'll get to those), can only be found on the CD version of Big Fun. It's a collector's item, but it's also a very good piece of music. Trevere (yet another Brew-era outtake, and again previously unreleased) follows this, and really it's the album's only bad point. I hate the stupid haunted-house organ.
Then it's back to the good stuff. Go Ahead John (the lone outtake from the Jack Johnson sessions found on this LP) is my other favorite here. It's like Hendrix, if Hendrix had collaborated with Miles (and he probably would have, had he lived longer - the two were friends, of course). Lots of heavy guitar on that song. I've heard it's supposed to be an embryonic take of Right Off, but I disagree: it doesn't have the dated-sounding organ that ruins the otherwise stellar composition, and there's no uncredited Sly Stone borrowings. One fine song!
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