Pete Cosey, an innovative guitarist who brought his distinctive distorted sound to recordings with Miles Davis, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, died May 30 of complications from surgery in Chicago. He was 68.
In the 1960s, Cosey was a member of the studio band at Chess Records in Chicago, where he played on Waters’ “Electric Mud” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Howlin’ Wolf Album.” Cosey also worked with Etta James and Chuck Berry.
He took a creative approach to stringing and tuning his guitars, and liberally applied the distortion pedal to his licks. He started to develop his unique sound as a teenager in Arizona, where he would play in the mountains near Phoenix.
His explorations of sound drew the attention of one of jazz’s legendary minds, Miles Davis.
In an interview with music writer George Cole, published on Cole’s “The Last Miles” website, Cosey said Davis sought him out, wanted him at the front of the band and told him to turn up his guitar’s volume.
Cosey ended up playing on many of Davis’ boundary-pushing recordings in the 1970s, including “Dark Magus,” “Agharta” and “The Complete on the Corner Sessions.”
Cosey appeared in Martin Scorsese’s 2003 documentary “The Blues.”