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Miles Ahead session details

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January 26, 1974 (9 items; TT = 123:15)
Shaboo Inn, Willimantic CT
Band recording (B+)

Miles Davis (tpt, org); Dave Liebman (ss, ts, fl); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Reggie Lucas (g); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

First fragment
1 For Dave (incomplete) [Mr. Foster] (M. Davis) 15:43
2 Turnaroundphrase (M. Davis) 16:41
3 Tune in 5 (M. Davis) 8:37
4 Agharta Prelude (with applause) (M. Davis) 10:53

Second fragment
5 Band warming up 0:41
6 Ife (M. Davis) 21:38
7 Turnaroundphrase (M. Davis) 16:32

Henderson plays the "Right Off" el-b vamp for the first 0:08, then settles into "Turnaroundphrase."
8 For Dave [Mr. Foster] (M. Davis) 18:57
9 Calypso Frelimo (incomplete) (M. Davis) 13:33

Some versions in circulation have a splice at ca. 4:15, at which point about 0:25 is missing

1 For Dave (incomplete)
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

2 Turnaroundphrase
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

3 Tune in 5
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

4 Agharta Prelude (with applause)
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

5 Band warming up
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

6 Ife
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

7 Turnaroundphrase
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

8 For Dave
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

9 Calypso Frelimo (incomplete)
CD: Mega Disc Legendary Collection no number

Several of the indexes are incorrect on a So What CDR:

Disc 1: For Dave (21:21); Turnaroundphrase (18:49); Tune in 5 (8:52); Prelude (10:30).

Disc 2: Ife (22:01); Turnaroundphrase (16:23); For Dave (18:35); Calypso Frelimo (12:59).

In addition, the first 8:41 of Disc 1 repeats the end of "Calypso Frelimo" from Disc 2. Listen for the splice in Disc 2's "Calypso Frelimo" (at 4:15); the remainder of the tune is grafted onto the beginning of Disc 1's "For Dave."

Evidence for the date of this recording is confused. The Davis Septet was originally booked for two nights at the Shaboo Inn: January 24-25 (Thursday-Friday). The former owner of the Shaboo recalls that they didn't play on Thursday because Davis's hairdresser wasn't there -- which leaves January 25 (Friday) as the date. According to Dave Liebman, however, the music is from Saturday -- this is written on the tape Liebman made from the stage. Maybe the group stayed over Saturday night to make up for the missed show on Thursday -- although I haven't found any advertisements or reviews to corroborate this.

It's also unclear whether all of this music is from the same night. The master (a single 120-minute tape) contains two extended but incomplete medleys. The second fragment begins on side A of the tape with the band warming up and ends about 9:00 into side B with the incomplete "Calypso Frelimo" listed above. The first fragment begins abruptly in the middle of "For Dave" and concludes with set-ending applause following "Prelude, part 2."

The presence of two versions of "For Dave" suggests that the music here is from more than one night, but this is speculation.

The Davis Septet had a busy road schedule during this period: Shaboo Inn, Willimantic (January 24-26); Massey Hall, Toronto (January 27); Arie Crown Theatre, Chicago (February 1); Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis (February 5); Allen Theatre, Cleveland (February 8); Allen Theatre, Cleveland (February 8); Masonic Auditorium, Detroit (February 10); Keystone Korner, San Francisco (February 12-17); Club Etcetera, Washington (February 24-March 3); Carnegie Hall, New York (March 30); Chicago Auditorium (April 13). I'm sure there are many other dates here, but I'm still looking for ads and reviews.

A review of a Club Etcetera show begins by describing it as "one of the few local engagements [Davis] has not canceled," and goes on to capture nicely the Septet's performance: "His group is improvising, listening to each other, throwing phrases back and forth. They are not working under predefined changes or chord progressions. Neither are they being guided through the performance of a piece they have rehearsed to perfection with the score in front of them. Davis is giving direction to their improvisation, establishing a control that lessens the low points in communication that high-energy improvisational music is prone to suffer from."

Another review, this one from Detroit's Masonic Auditorium, was less enthusiastic:

On Sunday, February 10, the legendary Miles Davis turned out one of the worst performances of his career at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. It started out badly, as Miles was an hour and a half late... When Miles finally showed up, things went for the worse. His band was sensational, no, indescribably delicious, but Miles appeared sick and possibly drunk and played out of key, and without energy. He kept spitting on the floor, grossing the audience out. Amid catcalls and boos (his pants were even falling down), Miles finally walked off stage, only to return after heated arguments offstage and continue with a lackluster showing. It's sad, too, as the other people in his entourage were remarkable in their show, and also seemed irritated with Miles's unusual weirdness...

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