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Rebirth by Children On The Corner

Like Pete Cosey’s Agharta band, Children On The Corner are dedicated to perpetuating the still-controversial "electric period" of that Prince of Darkness, the late Miles Davis. While it’s easy to take that time in Miles’ music (roughly 1969-1975) for granted now, back then many old-line jazz and Miles fans alike thought it was, to put it mildly, crap. (When I interviewed him some years ago, trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith said, after the first listen to an early electric Miles album - Bitches Brew, I think it was - he threw it across the room. It grew on him though, after a time - note his tribute to MD Yo Miles.) But it did expand Miles’ audience, influencing generations of musicians in not only jazz but in rock and R&B/funk. These Children include alumni of Miles’ bands: Sonny Fortune, Badal Roy and Michael Henderson, among others, and they do the music proud, mainly because they use it as a jumping-off point and don’t attempt to merely re-create what came before. This ensemble tackles a Joe Zawinul piece ("Directions"), a couple of Miles’ ("New York Girl," "Black Satin"), a couple by keyboardist Michael Wolff and some free group improvisations. COTC do capture the spirit of Miles’ sound (circa albums On The Corner, Agharta, Live/Evil): dense, rolling, bubbling, funk-charged (but not always funky) rhythms; dark, surreal, dreamlike/nightmarish textures, pointed; rhythmic solos that seem to come out of nowhere, then burn brightly before subsiding into The Dark. Fortune gets off some scorching solo time - as great as he is on his own albums, he seldom sounds this hot. N. Chancler and M. Henderson lay down some heavy slabs on their respective axes, and B. Finnerty’s sleek lines capture some of the chunkier qualities of former Miles guitarists Cosey and John McLaughlin, albeit with a bit more of a funk orientation. Fans of electric Miles will eat this up, and lovers of the jam-band sphere (Burnt Sugar, Gov’t Mule, etc.) ought to check into it too (to hear where they got it from, at least in part).

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Children On The Corner
  • CD Title: Rebirth
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Sonance
  • Rating: Four Stars
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