On the Corner / New York Girl / Thinkin' of One Thing and Doin' Another / Vote for Miles
One and One
Helen Butte / Mr. Freedom X
Though it is now widely regarded as a classic, On the Corner won Miles Davis a fair amount of critical derision from jazz purists upon its 1972 release. Though Miles had laid the groundwork for On the Corner’s windswept, inhospitable funk with the release of 1970’s A Tribute To Jack Johnson, On the Corner’s disorienting textures and hyper-repetitive rhythmic assaults initially took many listeners by surprise. Davis takes pleasure in revisiting the staccato, fleet-footed R&B rhythms of Jack Johnson, but On the Corner’s take-no-prisoners attitude, thinly veiled political subtext, and bracingly alien electronic interjections distinguish it from its younger, slightly more well-mannered cousin. On the Corner was a fully-fledged statement of purpose, possessed of an uncompromising will for sonic confrontation. When attempting to explain the radical stylistic turnaround he enacted with On the Corner, many Davis fans point to his growing infatuation with the futuristic funk of Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix and his burgeoning romance with the hip young scenester Betty Mabry. Influences aside, On the Corner is an album of trailblazing, genre-defying music.