RIP: Pete Cosey, guitarist for Miles Davis’ 1973-75 band

RIP: Pete Cosey, guitarist for Miles Davis' 1973-75 band

From the Chicago Reader:

Guitar fans have had a rough couple of days. Yesterday brilliant folk and country guitarist Doc Watson died at age 89. This morning, according to the private Facebook page of fellow guitarist and collaborator Vernon Reid, Chicago’s own Pete Cosey died at 68. Obituaries and remembrances for Watson have already appeared all over, and deservedly so—few instrumentalists so completely absorbed America’s folk and country traditions, and fewer still brought such quiet virtuosity to them. Watson was a key catalyst in the folk revival after his discovery by producer Ralph Rinzler in 1960.

Pete Cosey, on the other hand, was a classic musician’s musician; he’s not especially well-known, though he played on tons of classic records. As such, word of his passing is traveling rather more slowly.

Cosey was a key session musician at Chess Records in the 60s, appearing on sides by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, the Rotary Connection, and Etta James, and he worked with the great Phil Cohran in the latter’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble. He’s probably most famous, though (to the extent that he’s famous at all), for his mind-melting work with Miles Davis in the early 70s: he played on the trumpeter’s heaviest, most electric albums, including Agartha, Pangaea, and Get Up With It. After Davis broke up the band in 1975 and went into semi-retirement, Cosey was never able to build the solo career he so richly deserved. He used his guitar like an abstract expressionist painter, creating thick, richly textured solos with fierce rhythmic power, dazzling colors, and nonchalant violence.

• Pete Cosey: http://www.thelastmiles.com/interviews-pete-cosey.php

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