Rock-Critic Pop Quiz #9: Name As Many Guys Who Played On Bitches Brew As You Can

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Coltrane totally slays on this
So last week, our fearless and/or hapless panel of rock critics finally knocked one out of the park, proving a whopping 68 percent of writers can name all three members of Sleater-Kinney. Our seven-week parade of humiliation finally turned to a brief moment of joy as our nationwide panel rose up and shouted, "Yes! We actually know something (as long it was made by white people in the last 10 years)!" So as not to rest on our laurels, I figured we should bring it back to the ritual bloodbaths of shaming. So this week, we asked our panel of 15 music critics:

How many musicians can you name that played on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew?

That's right, it's jazz, you fuckers! It's the stuff that every rock critic swears he or she listens to but secretly fears you'll ask for even a modicum of elaboration. We figured we'd give our panel a leg up by picking what is probably the most important jazz record of the last 45 years (sorry, A Taste of Bublé). It's pretty much one of the most visible influences on your Flaming Lips and your Oneidas and your Mars Voltas, and probably even some jazz people, too, if we could name any. So we cobbled a consortium of 16 professional and semi-professional rock critics, all given the usual rules:

1. I will not identify you AT ALL, so it is OK to be wrong. [We will say that our esteemed panel edits magazines, websites, and alt-weeklies. They have written for pretty much every outlet you've ever heard of, from Rolling Stone to Spin to Billboard.]

2. You can't use Google.

Will our panel run the voodoo down, or will they be feeling kind of blue?

The correct answer:

Don Alias (congas)

Harvey Brooks (electric bass)

Billy Cobham (drum set)

Chick Corea (electric piano)

Jack DeJohnette (drum set)

Dave Holland (bass)

Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet)

John McLaughlin (electric guitar)

Airto Moreira (percussion and cuica)

Juma Santos (credited as "Jim Riley") (shaker, congas)

Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone)

Lenny White (drum set)

Larry Young (electric piano)

Joe Zawinul (electric piano)

Number of critics that answered five correctly: 2

Number of critics that answered three correctly: 2

Number of critics that answered two correctly: 6

Number of critics that couldn't get any: 5

Most correctly answered musician: Chick Corea (7 times)

Musicians that went totally unguessed by anyone: Don Alias, Harvey Brooks, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira, Juma Santos, Lenny White

Some incorrect guesses: Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Peter Cosey

Number of critics who tried to go for Ted Macero bonus points since his radical tape-splicing and dubby effects were essentially using the studio as an instrument: 2

Critics who passed the question off to their non-critic significant other, who proceeded to get six correct answers, beating any critic: 1

Critics who responded with a link to Sound of the City's own "I Know Nothing About Jazz, Please Tell Me More" tag: 1

Critics who love Bitches Brew but are "always way too stoned to read the liner notes": 1

Most hilarious spelling of Jack DeJohnette's name: Dijonette

Critics who were pretty sure my mother played skin flute on the album: 1

So, yeah, obviously I wouldn't even expect even hardcore jazz guys to know that Juma Santos played shaker on this. But if Miles wanted everyone to forget that John McLaughlin plays guitar on this, he probably wouldn't have named a song "John McLaughlin." Since we seem to have forgotten four of the five awesome drummers involved, I'll focus on Billy Cobham -- one of the mightiest fusion drummers ever. He not only powered Miles' band, but the Mahavisnu Orchestra as well. But since this is the probably the only way to get through to you rugrats, here's a video of Massive Attack's "Safe From Harm," which samples his monster break from the 1973 solo track "Spectrum."

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