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On the Corner Import, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

104 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording reissued, August 1, 2000
$9.18
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Audio, Cassette, June 15, 1993
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$9.18 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details In Stock. Sold by megahitrecords and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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On the Corner + Tribute to Jack Johnson + Bitches Brew
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Digitally Remastered Reissue fts : Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea

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In 1969, the house of jazz was shaken to its foundations when Miles Davis began to dabble in elements of rock when he recorded Bitches Brew. Many of his faithful quickly fell by the wayside with what they considered this outrageous gesture. Nonetheless, a younger audience quickly arose to embrace what he was doing. But when On the Corner was issued in 1972, it seemed that everyone jumped ship: Miles's effort to bring together the latest developments in European experimental music (Stockhausen's "Mixtur," for example) and Black American funk (Sly Stone) fell on dead ears. What's more, the art work on the cover was peculiar, there was no list of musicians, and the signature Davis trumpet sound was largely buried in the mix. Now, almost 30 years later, time has caught up to Davis, and this record seems the clear ancestor of hip-hop, trance, jungle, and other musics whose methods involve slowly revealing their meaning through repetition, small variation, and funk without cease. Though broken into tracks, it seems more like a single groove, swirling with every trend that was in the air at the time. Forget about conventional melody, harmony, and structure. Davis erased those elements along with the hierarchy that rules them. New digital remastering makes this methodology seem much clearer, and the prejudices of 30 years ago may yet fade into the distance. --John F. Szwed


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. On the Corner / New York Girl / Thinkin' of one Thing and Doin' Another / Vote for Miles19:55Album Only
  2. Black Satin 5:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. One and One 6:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Helen Butte / Mr. Freedom X (Unedited Master)23:18Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 1, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 1972
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Columbia / Legacy
  • ASIN: B00004VWAF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,738 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Forbes on April 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD
People tend to focus on certain albums of Miles' discography as their "line in the sand". Because the trumpeter's career was dramatically divided into distinct periods and even micro-periods there are a number of places where certain listeners can say, "this far but no farther." I know people whose love of Miles ended with Night at the Blackhawk, or Miles Smiles, or Bitches Brew. My own ended with The Man With the Horn. But perhaps one of the most controversial love-it-or-leave-it albums in Miles' discography is On the Corner. Looked upon as a sell-out in the 70s, even by those who loved the electric bands, this album has been vilified ever since. However, a careful re-examination thirty years later reveals an album that was radically ahead of it's time, though not perhaps even a jazz album anymore.
On the Corner was one of the last albums Miles did with his rotating, multi-layered electric bands of the early 70s. The albums after this would delve into avant-rock-funk of the Agharta period, before Davis took his complete hiatus and suffered his mid 70-s breakdown. Assembled for this disc is a typical conglomeration of the jazz-rock stars of the 70s, including Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock on electric pianos, John McLaughlin on guitar, three drummers including both the marvelous Jack Dejohnette and Billy Hart. Along with these luminaries were Dave Liebman and Sonny Fortune on saxes, fat funk grooves by Michael Henderson, Colin Walcott on electric sitar and Badal Roy on tablas. This lineup is probably the most complexly layered group Miles had in the electric period, and the inclusion of Indian instruments gave the album a world music groove that was years ahead of its time.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Ashurra on September 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
In 1973, Miles Davis was fuming. He had released On the Corner a year before to negative reviews and an apathetic public; and now, his sideman Herbie's fusion record Headhunter's was on its way to becoming the bestselling jazz album of all time. In his autobiography, he whines about how Columbia doomed the record by not promoting it correctly. Personally, I don't think Miles has a leg to stand on. Even if Columbia had put massive amounts of money behind it there's no way it could've stuck in 1972. Columbia had only one hope: Hire a team of brilliant scientists who would build a time machine, and drop this album on the public 40 years in the future. That's right, 10 years from now. We STILL aren't ready for On The Corner...

There are so many dismissive complaints leveled at this album- it's repetitive! there's barely any melody! It's not even Jazz! You hardly every even HEAR miles! I have no counter argument; these are all facts. However, there have been a few things that have been missed by its critics:

Miles had a vision with this record. This wasn't just a street record, this was intended to be THE street record. The ultimate black-power world-encompassing fusion call-to-arms. He intended to reach his black audience- the world's black audience. When you hit play on this record, you are on EVERY dang corner in the world: Los Angeles, Dakar, Nairobi, New Orleans, Havana... This is THE fusion album.

The album is thoroughly immersive. I can't think of a denser album, or an album that rewards repeat journeys better than this. At first it's entirely impenetrable and almost hostile to the listener, but once you find a way in there's a world of details and fascinating characters to discover.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By J. Lund on August 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
A landmark recording that even several decades later is a struggle for many fans--jazz and pop--to get a grip on. Miles Davis finds a precarious balance between the vital rhythm-oriented advances of the James Brown-originated funk idiom and Stockhausen's manipulation-of-sound concepts...and still manages to bring his jazz-based perspective along for the ride.
High in the top ten all-time jazz-reactionary myopic criticisms: that ON THE CORNER is a sellout to commercialism! If anything--and there's much more to it than this--Davis took the then up-and-coming, hot-selling funk idiom, stripped it of all surface characteristics that could be easily absorbed in one sitting, then rebuilt the style via his own post-modernist approach...and somehow the intoxicating James Brown-via-Sly Stone THERE'S A RIOT GOIN' ON groove survived intact.
The results are marked by deep polyrhythmic grooves that are decidedly left-of-center. Over this solid bottom a variety of keyboards, guitars, sitars, and the like engage in basically free associative textures, anchored by Michael Henderson's less-is-more bass figures (who else can make a repetitive "duh-dut" bassline sound as if adding even one more note would be overkill?).
Holding this all together is what many critics seem to miss, that being significant solo passages particularly by Davis, heard on no less than three extended--and assertive--segments, with the electrified wah-wah pedal used not as a gimmick but for its vocal-like qualities. Also, various guitarists, reeds, and percussion offer compelling statements that alternatively ride over and react within the dense backdrop.
As if all this weren't enough of a challenge, the "tunes" lack identifiable melodies except for BLACK SATIN.
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