Miles Plugs In His Trumpet

By now fed up with the elitism of free jazz and with rock (which, he said, diverted and weakened rhythm and blues), Miles Davis turned his full attention to popular black music, and particularly to the funk of Sly and the Family Stone. Sly Stone practised a violent and direct aesthetic inherited from James Brown.

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Sly & The Family Stone

In 1968 Miles met Jimi Hendrix, the hero of rock guitar. Hendrix knew how to funnel the force of blues to the universe of pop. Hearing him, Miles Davis understood that the guitar, on the margin until then, was destined to be in the forefront of the evolution of jazz. Indeed, at that point keyboards, bass and even wind instruments were following in the guitar's footsteps, becoming electrified. The volume increased, and new types of sound appeared. After 1969, when Miles recorded In a Silent Way with John McLaughlin, a young British guitarist, electronics were a standard part of his world.

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Miles Davis, electrified

Limiting his written work to a few suggestive measures, hooking his trumpet up to a wa-wa pedal, Miles set off true electronic revels on the records that followed. On them, there was new combination of electric guitar, bass guitar, various keyboards, percussion instruments from the world over, and the binary hammering inherited from Tony Williams.