The IRT respectfully salutes the life of guitarist Pete Cosey, whose reverb soaked wah-wah style helped define Miles Davis' electric jungle era in the 1970s and who passed away from complications following a surgery on May 30th. He was 68.
Cosey got his start at Chess Records, where he did sessions for the likes of Rotary Connection, Etta James and Fontella Bass, but whose indelible stamp of individuality took root in the legendary sessions for Muddy Waters' Electric Mud and Howlin' Wolf's The Howlin' Wolf Album, two underground blues classics that saw the label try to make Mud and Wolf more appealing to young audiences by pairing them up with psych musicians. But it wasn't until he linked up with Miles in 1973 did Cosey truly let his presence as one of the most advanced minded guitar players be known on such head jazz masterpieces as Get Up with It, Dark Magus, Agharta and Pangaea.
Before he passed, he was most recently jamming with a slew of modern jazz cats like Vijay Iyer, Butch Morris, Melvin Gibbs and Burnt Sugar as part of the experimental supergroup The Rites.
His work helped me appreciate jazz when I first got serious about it and he will be missed. -Ed.
Pete Cosey on "Built for Comfort" from The Howlin' Wolf Album:
Pete Cosey with the Miles Davis Band in Tokyo, 1973: