Jazz Guitarist Pete Cosey Dead at 68; Recorded with Miles Davis, Muddy Waters

The Associated Press reports that blues and jazz guitarist Pete Cosey died May 30 in Chicago. He was 68.

His daughter, Mariama, says he passed away due to complications from an unspecified surgery.

Cosey was a busy session guitarist with Chess Records, playing on records by Etta James, Fontella Bass, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, including Electric Mud and After the Rain.

He is perhaps best known for his work as part of the Miles Davis Band between 1973 and 1975. He performed on four of Davis' most experimental works, Get Up with It, Dark Magus, Agharta and Pangaea.

By 1975, he had developed an advanced guitar approach — involving alternate tunings, guitars restrung in unusual patterns and a post-Hendrix palette of distortion, wah and guitar synth effects — that has influenced several guitarists, including Henry Kaiser and Vernon Reid.

Later in his career, Cosey returned to Davis' music as a member of Thee Children of Agharta, a group focused on performing Davis' electric repertoire.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.