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Gooey Dewey by Bitches Brew

There are bands that specialize in the music of the Big Band era, Elvis Presley imitators, The Herbie Nichols Project, there’s even a Brooklyn band that plays only the songs of country music icon Hank Williams, Sr. called Hank Williams’ Cheatin’ Hearts Club Band. Call them tribute bands, whatever, but there’s a few outfits extant that dedicated themselves for the most part to the music of a Major Musical Figure - sometimes they’re merely imitators or musical impressionists, others pay homage by keeping their Idol’s music Out There for People to Hear or use it as a point of departure. Where to "put" the San Francisco Bay Area Bitches Brew is up to you, as they straddle the line between imitation and homage, between "not ________, but an incredible simulation" and taking the music of Miles Dewey Davis to new heights. For the most part, Bitches Brew dedicate themselves to the music of Miles Davis’ electric period (1969-75) and play it very well - but that’s a bit of a problem as they play it TOO well. They’re on the money capturing the chunky chockablocka rhythms and shimmering funk-charged textures, and that’s fine as far as it goes - but when I’m in the mood to hear that kinda stuff I’ll pull out my copies of Miles’ Live-Evil or Get Up With It and play ‘em. But what BB does incredibly right is play Miles’ tunes with crackling flair and fervor instead of treating them like museum pieces that might break if you breathe on them too hard. The musicianship is excellent and frequently inspired, and to their credit (kudos to trumpeter Jab, keyboardist Patrick Moorhead and reed player Jack Chandler) they do not try to imitate Miles nor the sax fellows he employed. Gooey Dewey is a good listen for fans of electric Miles and/or the early daze of fusion, but while I’m listening to it I never once forget just who the Ol’ Master/Professor/Big Cheese/Boss is.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bitches Brew
  • CD Title: Gooey Dewey
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Flatbed Lamborgini Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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