By Tom Sinclair
December 07, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions

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When it was released in April 1970 Miles Davis’ double LP Bitches Brew outraged jazz’s old guard with its jagged rhythms and unprecedented electric sprawl. But even as fogies went apoplectic at the new direction in which the trumpeter was taking his music (shades of Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival), younger listeners tapped into its heady, narcotic vibe.

My own introduction to this record came via my father, who bought a copy when it came out, listened to it once, and immediately passed it on to me, confessing that it ”scared” him. To a 13-year-old accustomed to a diet of Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills &amp Nash, that first taste of Brew proved to be, if you’ll pardon the expression, a stone trip. Dad was right — it was a spooky-sounding affair, a weird but compelling jumble of creeping bass lines, jittery electric-piano cascades, brittle guitar runs, and solemn saxophone, with Davis’ haunting trumpet blowing like a ghostly wind through it all.

This beautifully packaged and annotated four-CD anthology, The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, includes that mind-blowing album in its entirety and appends two and a half CDs’ worth of music — much of it never before available — recorded in eight sessions by various permutations of Davis’ Bitches Brew group. It’s all startling, exhilarating, and bold, a testament to the birth of a new kind of cool. It remains timeless and ineffable. Even better, it’s still scary. A

The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions

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  • The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions
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