To me mid-'70s Miles caused as much a revolution in my idea of what sound could be as anything did short of James Brown and Richard Meltzer; so it's on the order of dub or hip-hop in making me rethink. Don't have good words for the rethink, it dating from around 1978. But let's say that one was previously thinking of music as made of rhythms and melodies (not necessarily how I thought of it in my life, but as a musician I was trying to get good with rhythms and melodies), and maybe chord progressions and harmony, though I was never all that competent with those. And "call-and-response," which in my mind symbolized the idea of notes in interaction, musicians in interaction. But with Miles I was getting an expanse of "space," though since music unfolds in time this space is mostly temporal. But imagine a room, and what happens when you stretch a rod from a floor corner diagonally up to the opposite ceiling corner and then start hanging cloth from the rod. The room is divided differently, it could be several rooms now. Anyway, I think of Miles as creating a space and then in a couple of seconds reorganizing it with a horn blast here and a wah-wah squiggle there, so there's constant reorganization even while the funk rumbles on. I also had in my mind the image of the sound running forward and then suddenly halting, leaving kinetic energy in the silent space that follows (and rarely would the sounds stop all at once; a particular instrument would stop unexpectedly, and this absence would help shape our perception of how the rest of the sound seemed).I'd say it was Davis far more than Cosey who was responsible for this reorganization, but Pete Cosey's on my mind because of an article in Premier Guitar (Tzvi Gluckin, "Forgotten Heroes: Pete Cosey"). Among other things, it sent me to these performances. I hadn't known that Cosey was the lead guitarist on Electric Mud, an album I'd passed over when it came out. I'd assumed, possibly correctly, that it was a sound that Chess had forced on Muddy.* So, hearing this for the first time; some of it's stunning.
From Donald Creamer (On The Corner) and Pete Cosey I could hear something that wasn't limiting its sense of possibilities to what the chords and the melodies seemed to invite; so we'd get notes or riffs that could feel like streamers, or like jets of paint...
And here's a link to Melvin Gibbs' "Canto por Odudua" near the end of Cosey's life.
h/t Andrew Klimeyk.
*At age 14, I think I conflated Chess's campaign for Electric Mud with one at the same time for Howlin' Wolf's This Is Howlin' Wolf's New Album. He Doesn't Like It. He Didn't Like His Electric Guitar At First Either. Cosey's on that one as well, which I also need to listen to.