True innovators in music and other arts always come to the top and inspire new generations of musicians and artists, some being just good (or not so good) followers, others being inspired to create something truly their own. As James Brown, one of those innovators, said about his role in shaping funk music and his followers: “I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know.”
One of those innovators was inimitable Miles Davis, and his 1970 album Bitches Brew, controversial at the time of its release, became one of the true jazz classics and the album that actually shaped what became known as fusion jazz.
The influence of that album still makes waves to this day, particularly with a collective of new British jazz artists that include names like Benji B, Theon Cross, Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings, Dave Okumu, Tom Skinner, and others.
All these names took part in shaping London Brew, an album of originals that pays tribute to Davis’ Bitches Brew. Originally, the idea was to have a one-off live performance at London’s Barbican art center in honor of the 50th anniversary of Bitches Brew in early 2020, but the show never happened due to the pandemic.
The participants didn’t give up on the idea, and the result is this album, which includes all original material, but that presents the musical views and ideas inspired by the original, seminal Brew.
The result is practically as innovative and as mesmerizing as its inspiration, coming with some incredible music that defies musical genres.
As Shabaka Hutchins, one of the involved musicians notes: “For me, that’s what Bitches Brew is. It’s a bunch of musicians making music because of the love of making music, as a social force and as a social construct. They are creating something that expresses unity and motion. That’s what it is to be alive… you know, you have unity, you have motion, and you have vibration. You don’t get any more alive than that. That’s Bitches Brew.”