Pete Cosey / Oct 9, 1943 - May 30, 2012

Pete Cosey is a Chicago guitar legend, a heavy man with a heavy sound. He is best known for his mid-'70s work for Miles Davis. Despite having never recorded as a leader, he has gotten on many sessions and had a notable career as a Hendrix-esque sonic poet.

He was born into a jazz family in Chicago, his father played sax with Sidney Bechet, Louis Jordan, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Big Bill Broonzy and Josephine Baker, and his mother was a composer. He spent his teenage years in Tucson but came back to Chicago for some session work at Chess. He played on "Rescue Me" (Fontella Bass) and with Etta James, Little Milton, Rotary Connection, John Klemmer, Howlin' Wolf and on Electric Mud, the psych-blues classic by Muddy Waters. He also played on Motown tunes by the Marvelettes and Four Tops. He toured with Aretha Franklin, Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons.

He played in the legendary Chicago funk band The Pharoahs, with Phil Cohran's Artistic Heritage Ensemble and was a member of the AACM. He played on Melvin Jackson's Funky Skull. He played on several Miles classics in the '70s: Get Up With It, Agharta, Pangaea and Dark Magus, as well as the On The Corner sessions.

He played on Mtume's Rebirth Cycle in '74. He appeared on Herbie Hancock's Future Shock album in '82, and in '87 played in Power Tools with Melvin Gibbs and Ronald Shannon Jackson but little else until 2000 when he hooked up with Akira Sakata/Bill Laswell/Hamid Drake.

In 2001 he joined Children of Agharta, which was an ensemble with Gibbs, John Stubblefield, Gary Bartz and others but that ended up on The People's Court! (Cosey defeated a money-stealing promoter). In 2003 he played with Burnt Sugar and was part of a revival of the Electric Mud players for Martin Scorsese's The Blues series. His last project seems to have been on Miles To India in 2007. From his gnarly electric style on guitar & sitar to his dashiki & shades on-the-floor position onstage, Cosey was a large presence.

Tagged: '70s Funk Rock, blues, Celebrate Icons, Chicago, guitar, jazz, out-jazz, Pete Cosey, psych, Video, vintage footage

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