She was born in Pittsburgh and her name was Betty Mabry. She began working as a model during the mid-'60s, and her first writing credit, "Uptown" by the Chambers Brothers, came in 1967. One year later, she met jazz legend Miles Davis in New York, and they were married by the end of summer 1968. She was now Betty Davis, and the "Bitch" in Miles' "Brew."

As Mrs. Miles Davis, she introduced the trumpeter to two musicians that would change his life forever Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix. Influenced by the revolutionary sound that was being made by Hendrix and Stone, Miles set out to start a revolution of his own; the masses would soon call it jazz fusion. "Bitches Brew" was the record that introduced the world to a new kind of jazz music. With its mix of funk, rock, and soul, "Brew" quickly became one of the most original and influential jazz records in music history. Her name was Betty Davis, the woman who was 25 years the jazz legend's junior. Her name was Betty Davis, the woman who urged Miles to trade his suits in for a more hip and happenin' wardrobe. Her name was Betty Davis, the woman that invented jazz fusion.



As evidenced on the three funk masterpieces that Betty Davis released in the years from 1973-1975, she was a vibrant, raw, and overtly flamboyant artist. The Miles Davis the world knew before 1968 was more of a traditional jazz trumpeter who presented himself as a dapper man with a high class "uptown" sound. After Betty seduced the dapper Davis, and exposed him to the acid rock and cosmic funk of the 70's, Miles started to loosen his tie a bit. One listen to the turbulent voice of Ms. Davis, and a quick glimpse at any one of her album covers, will immediately burn the listener with raw sexuality. Cloaked in buttoned down flashy silk blouses, shorts that would make Daisy Duke blush, and platinum thigh high go-go boots, Betty Davis was eye candy that was sweeter than mom's apple pie. But, it was when the needle hit the black slab of vinyl that the world would stop turning.

Upon first hearing this woman's work, it's hard to not be reminded of Janis Joplin. Not because of Ms. Davis' relationship with Jimi or anything like that, but because of the beautiful throaty scratch of her voice. The sandpaper roughness, combined with her sheer sexuality, made for some orgasmic funk brutality. It isn't until after you get past the incredible voice that you realize who the supporting cast was on these records. Get a load of these names: Gregg Errico former Sly Stone drummer, served Davis as both producer and drummer; Larry Graham former Sly Stone bass player, and maybe the best funk player ever; Greg Adams and Michael Gillette Tower Of Power horn players; June and Anita Pointer yes, The Pointer Sisters; and maybe the most shocking of all the names, Neal Schon rock guitarist of Journey and Santana fame.

Many have come to know Schon as exclusively a rock player. Known for playing on hits such as "Wheel In The Sky" and "Don't Stop Believin'" with his classic rock supergroup Journey, he was impressive in every facet of the guitar rock genre. Schon is also known for being a prodigy that Carlos Santana developed and nurtured early on, but listening to his work on these Betty Davis releases will stun even the dedicated Schon fan. Schon may have been weaned on Latin rhythms, and a hitmaker with classic rock licks, but he showed his versatility and expertise of the instrument right here with Ms. Davis. Just like she did with Miles, stretching his outlook on musical styles, she takes Schon to another world of guitar playing. Hearing the young master take on this raw funk style, and adding his technique to the success of the songs, proves that he is one of the best ever.

If you can imagine all of these groundbreaking musicians playing together while being fronted by a funky Janis Joplin, you get a vague idea of what the Betty Davis experience is like.

Miles and Betty were only married for little more than one year, but during that time Betty Davis turned one of the greatest jazz musicians in the world into an innovative genius. With Miles Davis placing his sex kitten on the cover of his "Filles de Kilimanjaro" album and including the tender ballad "Mademoiselle Mabry" on the record, it was obvious that Mrs. Davis was having an effect on Mr. Davis and his music. It was "Bitches Brew" that ultimately showed the influence of Betty's persona and sense of style though. Oddly enough, it is rumored that the breakup of the Davis marriage was due to Betty having a torrid affair with guitar god Jimi Hendrix. Betty Davis has consistently denied the accusations. But, as you listen to Ms. Davis grind out her respect for such legends as Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone in her song "Funk," she spends a significant piece of the tune singing of Hendrix in a most sensual swagger. Let's just say that the song does nothing to dispel the rumors of their affair. She may have been a model, but Miles wouldn't see her as a "model" wife, and they would divorce in late '69. Miles would later return to pay tribute to his ex-wife musically, but this time it would come with some negativity when he cut the song "Back Seat Betty" in 1981.

Although Betty Davis is often seen as a footnote to the legend that is Miles Davis, upon further investigation we come to realize that she was much more. The fabulous band that Betty Davis put together in 1973, along with the music that she made with them was so far ahead of its time that the world lost sight of it. I think it's about time the world started catching up to the legend that was Mrs. Miles Davis. Ladies and gentlemen . . . Betty Davis.

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