Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pete Cosey RIP

Guitarist Pete Cosey passed away this week at the age of 69. Althought he never achieved widespread acclaim, he’s best known as the lead guitarist in Miles Davis’s early 70’s band that recorded Agartha, Pangaea, and Dark Magus. While the jazz police disdained this unit, it was beautiful, intense, mysterious and scary, sometimes within the same piece. Miles in his autobiography said it captured the sound of deepest Africa, and while I’ve never been there, I can imagine what he meant. Listening to this band brings to mind vivid hues of red, orange and deep blue, on a field of black. The music that they produced presaged a lot of what was to come, and I think it directly or indirectly influenced drum n’bass, electronica, and the use of noise elements in rock and improvised music. If you want to dive in, I recommend starting with Agartha, recorded live in Japan. Here’s a clip of the band in Vienna in 1973:

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