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On the Corner

On the Corner is a studio album by jazz musician Miles Davis, recorded in June and July of 1972 and released later that year on Columbia Records. It was scorned by critics at the time of its release and was one of Davis's worst-selling recordings. Its critical standing has improved dramatically with the passage of time, as it is now seen as a strong forerunner of the musical techniques of post punk, hip hop, drum and bass, and electronic music.

Joining previous multi-disc Davis reissues In a Silent Way, A Tribute to Jack Johnson and Bitches Brew, On the Corner was reissued on the 6-disc boxed set The Complete On the Corner Sessions, released in September of 2007.


Davis claimed that On the Corner was an attempt at reconnecting with the young black audience which had largely forsaken jazz for rock and funk. While there is a discernible rock and funk influence in the timbres of the instruments employed, from a musical standpoint the album was a culmination of sorts of the musique concrète approach that Davis and producer Teo Macero (who had studied with Otto Luening at Columbia University's Computer Music Center) had begun to explore in the late 1960s. Both sides of the record were based around drum and bass grooves, with the melodic parts snipped from hours of jams. These techniques, refined via the use of computers and digital audio equipment, are now standard amongst producers of electronically-based music. Also cited as musical influences on the album by Davis were the contemporary composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who was later falsely rumored to have recorded with the trumpeter in the late 1970s, and Paul Buckmaster (who played electric cello on the album and contributed some arrangements).

Track listing

All songs written by Miles Davis.

Side one

  1. "On the Corner / New York Girl / Thinkin' One Thing and Doin' Another / Vote for Miles" (19:55)
  2. "Black Satin" (5:16)

Side two

  1. "One and One" (6:09)
  2. "Helen Butte / Mr. Freedom X" (23:18)

The 1993 CD reissue of On the Corner (which has the "Columbia Jazz Masterpieces" logo stamped on the front cover) separates each "composition" into a distinct track so that the album has 8 tracks rather than 4. Later reissues returned the songs to their original, conflated status.


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