The Jazz-Rock Of Miles Davis' Children

Innumerable musicians who were temporarily of Davis' band attempted to prolong that musical experience and hold on to the public won through that contact. Transposing the energy of rock into their bands, they put their savoir faire as jazz musicians to the service of jazz-rock.

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John McLaughlin

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Mahavishnu Orchestra
John McLaughlin, for example, met with great success with his Mahavishnu Orchestra, starting in 1971. He allied a virtuosic writing and incantations  inherited from John Coltrane to a concern with technical performance that excited the rock audience. Mystical, like Coltrane, and fascinated with India, he blended the metric and modal sophisticated of Indian music with the rhythmic and harmonic effectiveness of rhythm and blues.

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Jan Hammer
  The pianist Jan Hammer was a pioneer in exploring the phrasing possibilities offered by the first electronic keyboards. The violinist Jerry Goodman attracted the public's attention, and the drummer Billy Cobham gave proof of fascinating technique in music with uneven meters.
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Jerry Goodman

Through their power, speed of execution and impressive equipment,drummers unleashed great excitement.
Now in the forefront of their bands, leaders such as Tony Williams or Billy Cobham often eclipsed the fame of their entourage.

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Billy Cobham

This, however, was not the case with Lenny White (drums) and Stanley Clarke (the first great electric bass soloist), who played with Chick Corea's group, Return to Forever. As for Corea himself, who had shared in Miles Davis' first electronics experiments, his keyboard virtuosity and brilliant writing were seductive. Swinging toward the Spanish with the addition of the guitarist Al Di Meola, the strong Latin feeling in his repertoire delighted the public.

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Lenny White & Stanley Clarke, Return To Forever (1975)

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Al Di Meola & Chick Corea, Return To Forever (1975)
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Return To Forever (L-R) Lenny White, Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke

Also emerging from Miles Davis' universe, Herbie Hancock created a group that was more profoundly anchored in the popular African-American tradition. Leaning on the deep-sounding 'drop' of the drummer Harvey Mason, Hancock's music became funkier than Davis'. More accessible to the general public, it was enormously successful, particularly with the album that takes its title from the name of the group: Head Hunters.

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Herbie Hancock & Paul Jackson, Headhunters

Like Chick Corea, who was now swinging between acoustic and electronic music, Hancock alternated successful inroads into 'electrofunk' with returns to formulas close to the spirit of the Miles Davis quintet of the sixties.


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