Pete Cosey

Miles and Cosey had a great time working together on the highly misunderstood 1976 double album Agharta, which was recorded in Osaka Japan the previous year. This album is one that purist critics did not appreciate along with its companion album Pangaea. Also, he’s on Get Up With It as well as Dark Magus. Cosey was born on 9 October 1943, the son of a musician dad who played with Sidney Bechet. As a child, he learned accordion, piano, and violin and also sang in the choir. Cosey was a member of Muddy Waters’ Chess Records band and has also appeared on albums by Etta James and Howlin’ Wolf. He was still with the blues label and appeared on many sessions. He also liked to play an electric choral sitar that was tuned like a guitar, but with drone strings and a bridge like a sitar. This was one of the Four Tops songs. He also played in the Pharoahs, later to become Earth, Wind, and Fire. Cosey was initially influenced by Wes Montgomery, Chuck Berry, and Reggie Boyd, who mentored him. But he went far beyond the jazz-rock innovations of Hendrix. Cosey played with Miles Hancock on Future Shock, and even performed with Ronald Shannon Jackson, a drummer innovator who was always an admirer of guitar art (think James Blood Ulmer or Jef Lee Johnson). Cosey also played with Children of Agharta in recent years, which featured Gary Bartz and John Stubblefield, as well as Bill Laswell, who was a bass guitarist and producer and helped to bring much-needed light and shade to Miles’ Agharta period of Panthalassa. Jazzwise’s George Cole spoke with Cosey about his time playing with Miles Davis. He explained to George, humbly: “I never in my lifetime considered for one second that… I would play with Miles Davis. I wanted to play with John Coltrane, the Modern Jazz Quartet, since childhood. I didn’t know how intelligent and spiritual Miles was. He was a great man and a great teacher. “I took it as a given that he was the essence cool and hip.” Cosey will always be remembered for his incendiary approach, spiritual approach to music, and a universal consciousness. And of course, the excitement of his incredible playing with Miles. – Stephen Graham from

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