On the Corner

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On the Corner
Miles Davis On The Corner.jpg
Studio album by Miles Davis
Released October 11, 1972[1]
Recorded June 1, 6 and July 7, 1972
Columbia Studio E, New York City
Length 54:49
Label Columbia
Producer Teo Macero
Miles Davis chronology
On the Corner
Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
JazzTimes (favorable)[4]
Robert Christgau B+[5]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[6]
Spin 5/5 stars[7]
Stylus Magazine (favorable)[8]
Penguin Guide to Jazz 2.5/4 stars [9]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 3/5 stars[10]

On the Corner is a studio album by jazz musician Miles Davis, recorded in June and July 1972 and released later that year on Columbia Records. Owing to its unconventional sound, it was scorned by established jazz critics at the time of its release and was one of Davis's worst-selling recordings.[4][11][12] Its critical standing has improved dramatically with the passage of time;[2] In 2014, Stereogum ranked it as Davis's best album,[13] while in 2007 BBC Music noted its influence and foreshadowing of a variety of subsequent musical genres.

Joining previous multi-disc Davis reissues, On the Corner was reissued as part of the 6-disc box set The Complete On the Corner Sessions in 2007.


Davis claimed that On the Corner was an attempt at reconnecting with the young African American audience which had largely forsaken jazz for such groove-based idioms as soul, funk and rock. Much to his chagrin, the album's commercial success was as limited as that of other albums since Bitches Brew, topping the Billboard jazz chart but only peaking at #156 in the more heterogeneous Billboard 200.[14] In addition to the discernible rock and funk influence on the album, it also represented a culmination-of-sorts of the proto-electronic editing approach that Davis and producer Teo Macero had begun to explore in the late 1960s.

Both sides of the record were based around repetitive drum and bass grooves, with the melodic parts snipped from hours of jams. Also cited as musical influences on the album by Davis were the contemporary composer Karlheinz Stockhausen,[15][16] who later recorded with the trumpeter in 1980,[17] and Paul Buckmaster (who played electric cello on the album and contributed some arrangements). Stereogum noted the album's mix of "funk guitars, Indian percussion, dub production techniques, loops that predict hip-hop."[18]

Buckmaster and Davis also recorded the song "Ife" in a session during the same period. The song failed to make On The Corner but instead appeared on Big Fun in 1974; it is possible that it wasn't included on the previous because of time constraints.

Reception and legacy[edit]

When it was released in 1972, On the Corner received scorn from establishment jazz critics and became one of Davis's worst-selling records. In recent years, however, it has gained recognition as one of Davis's most influential recordings. In 2014, Stereogum hailed it as "one of the greatest records of the 20th Century, and easily one of Miles Davis' most astonishing achievements," writing that "it's like walking down the street in New York and hearing six languages in three blocks, amid car horns and jackhammers and the rattle and crash of teeming human life."[19] BBC Music noted the music and production techniques of On the Corner "prefigured and in some cases gave birth to nu-jazz, jazz funk, experimental jazz, ambient and even world music."[20] Critic Simon Reynolds also noted the album's influence on a variety of post-punk and industrial artists.[21]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Miles Davis.

Side one
No. Title Recording date Length
1. "On the Corner/New York Girl/Thinkin' One Thing and Doin' Another/Vote for Miles"   June 1, 1972 20:02
2. "Black Satin"   July 7, 1972 5:20
Side two
No. Title ... Length
3. "One and One"   June 6, 1972 6:09
4. "Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X"   June 6, 1972 23:18



  1. ^ Miles Davis.com
  2. ^ a b Reynolds 2011, p. 182.
  3. ^ Jurek, Thom (2011). "On the Corner - Miles Davis | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Chinen, Nate (October 2007). Review: The Complete On the Corner Sessions. JazzTimes. Retrieved on 2011-02-12.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: Miles Davis". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Gleason, Ralph (2011). "On The Corner by Miles Davis | Rolling Stone Music | Music Reviews". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Hermes, Will (November 2007). "Review: The Complete On the Corner Sessions". Spin: 124.
  8. ^ Smith, Chris (2011). "Miles Davis - On The Corner - On Second Thought - Stylus Magazine". stylusmagazine.com. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Acclaimed Music - On the Corner". acclaimedmusic.net. 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 58. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  11. ^ Tingen, Paul (October 26, 2007). The most hated album in jazz. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2011-02-12.
  12. ^ Freeman, Phil. "Miles Davis Albums From Best to Worst." Stereogum. 6 November 2014. [1]
  13. ^ Freeman, Phil. "Miles Davis Albums From Best to Worst." Stereogum. 6 November 2014. [2]
  14. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/on-the-corner-mw0000197892/awards
  15. ^ "Miles Davis first heard Stockhausen's music in 1972, and its impact can be felt in Davis's 1972 recording On the Corner, in which cross-cultural elements are mixed with found elements." Barry Bergstein "Miles Davis and Karlheinz Stockhausen: A Reciprocal Relationship." The Musical Quarterly 76, no. 4. (Winter): p. 503.
  16. ^ In Davis' autobiography he states that "I had always written in a circular way and through Stockhausen I could see that I didn't want to ever play again from eight bars to eight bars, because I never end songs: they just keep going on. Through Stockhausen I understood music as a process of elimination and addition" (Miles, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989, p. 329)
  17. ^ "In June of 1980, Miles Davis was joined by the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in the studios of Columbia Records; the recording of this collaboration is still unissued." Barry Bergstein "Miles Davis and Karlheinz Stockhausen: A Reciprocal Relationship" The Musical Quarterly Vol. 76, No. 4 (Winter, 1992), p. 502
  18. ^ Freeman, Phil. "Miles Davis Albums From Best to Worst." Stereogum. 6 November 2014. [3]
  19. ^ Freeman, Phil. "Miles Davis Albums From Best to Worst." Stereogum. 6 November 2014. [4]
  20. ^ Jones, Chris. "Review of Miles Davis The Complete On the Corner Sessions. BBC Music. 2007. [5]
  21. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2006). Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6. 

External links[edit]