Miles Ahead session details

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September 11, 1964 (5 items; TT = 24:17)
Steve Allen Playhouse, Hollywood CA
Westinghouse TV broadcast (C)
Miles Davis Quintet

Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ts); Herbie Hancock (p); Ron Carter (b); Tony Williams (d); Steve Allen (ann)

1 Introduction (Phil Daley, Steve Allen) 4:26

Phil Daley introduces Steve Allen, Burt Lancaster, and guests (0:57); Allen: "Thank you, thank you. Well, we've invited all of you to rather a disreputable joint tonight, but it's going to be a very relaxing evening, I think. As you've already seen indicated, by the opening credits, Mr. Burt Lancaster will be with us. I was just talking to him... I was just talking to him, ah, backstage, and he had a fantastic story about the Beatles to tell you, and a true story. Ah, that's show biz for you -- isn't that wonderful? Very, very clever. Um, anyway, as I say, Burt will be out in just a moment, but first we're going to put on television a gentleman you hardly ever see. He was with us, ah, the night before... last, and, um, we learned a great deal about modern jazz in listening to him. Some of you don't have to learn, you already, you know, make the scene. But we were discussing the fact that some of the harmonics of Miles Davis's music -- on some of his selections, not on all, you know, he can also play 'Honeysuckle Rose' if he feels like it -- are under the heading of 'modal music', and atonal. Would you lay a couple of chords, ah, Don? Yeah, sometimes you'll hear about seven minutes of music using only those two chords, right? And actually it's much more of a challenge to a man's creative ingenuity to be limited to that kind of a framework than to play a song such as 'All the Things You Are' where you have about 37-and-a-half chords to work with..." Someone says to Allen, "I have some extra information for you from Frank Rosalino, who happens to be a music authority. We found out that modal music is music played specifically in a motel..." (Laughter.) Allen: "One of the motels out on Ventura Boulevard. I'm not surprised that Frank Rosalino would come up with something like that. Actually, it's music of the middle ages -- that's from 35 to 50. I think, somethin' like that. Anyway, seriously, here is the great Miles Quintet..." (Someone calls for a commercial break.) "Whaddya mean, like that? We haven't done anything yet. You think people are gonna stand for this? Well, tomorrow you'll be talkin': well, how did he open? Well, he came out, he lit a match, and he said good evening. Big deal, what is that? I'm so funny I got no entertainment at all, however that's show business. BUT, after a commercial you will see Miles Davis and Burt Lancaster, and you can't ask for more than that. We'll see you in a minute..." (Commercial.) "We don't serve booze here, so if any of you parents are looking in and you spy your young ones here, it's perfectly all right. Ah, this is what Miles's new album looks like, it's on the Columbia label, titled 'Miles Davis in Europe', recorded live at the Antibes Jazz Festival. Miles, what are you gonna open with now? What're you gonna play first? 'So What' -- Miles has, uh, laryngitis, so I had to interpret his whispering. The great Miles Davis Quintet, here they are..."
2 So What (M. Davis) 8:02
3 Introduction (Steve Allen) 3:00

SA (to the band): Can you do it? After a break? Can you do it? (to audience): Wonderful... We'll have another number from Miles and the guys in just a minute or two. That was great. I think it might possibly, ah, help the understanding of those who, ah, have not been exposed to a great deal of that kind of music to be aware that if you took away the rhythm, and played things slow, say, without any rhythm, it would sound very much to you like, um, classical music -- it doesn't sound at all like the pretty chords that you're used to hearing. As I was mentioning the other night too, when Gerry Mulligan was here, ah, since I'm just the master of ceremonies of this program, I'm not boasting at all personally when I say that this is the program where you hear the most and the best jazz on television. And incidentally, this is a coffee house, isn't it? Then gimme some coffee, willya please? After all... Ah, right now I want my friend Burt Lancaster to have a good front seat here from which he can listen to the next number by Miles. Let's get him out here right now, Mr. Burt Lancaster, here he is... Like some coffee, Burt? BL: Uh, yes, as a matter of fact, that'd be a good idea. SA: All right, make that two... There's nobody over here, y'know, I just do that.. like a big man, I'll never get any coffee. BL: And I can smoke a little cigarette here? Voice: How would you like it, Burt? BL: Black with a little sugar, please. SA: I'll have mine with cream and no sugar... but with alacrity. (Laughter.) Put a little alacrity in it... Would you like some pie? BL: No, no, no. I wouldn't care for any, thanks. I was at a birthday party tonight. SA: Whose? BL: Some friends of ours... (cut off) SA: You people over there on camera, the ones who made reservations early in the afternoon, you folks get short shrift out there. Ah, you actually have to do that, in case you're watching around the country, if you're coming to Hollywood and to wanna go to a club, you have to ah, you have to reserve a table a day or two before to get into some of the best places. And even then you can have trouble. I went to the Coconut Grove the other night to see Edie Gorme, and we reserved a table, but we had to stand anyway, because we forgot to reserve chairs. So you never know when they're gonna... louse you up. Uh, Miles, whaddya gonna play this time? Davis: 'All Blues'...SA: Somebody else tell me, 'cause Miles has laryngitis...Shorter, Hancock: 'All Blues'...SA: Blues of some kind or other, right. Once again, the Miles Davis Quintet..."
4 All Blues (M. Davis) 8:41
5 Announcement (Steve Allen) 0:08

"Very exciting music... Well, sir. As I mentioned earlier, Burt has this true story to tell you, and he'll start telling you in just a few seconds. So we'll come right back."


1 Introduction (Phil Daley, Steve Allen)
Video: TV broadcast (Steve Allen Show)

2 So What
Video: TV broadcast (Steve Allen Show)

3 Introduction (Steve Allen)
Video: TV broadcast (Steve Allen Show)

4 All Blues
Video: TV broadcast (Steve Allen Show)

5 Announcement (Steve Allen)
Video: TV broadcast (Steve Allen Show)


This is the probably the earliest extant recording of Wayne Shorter with the Davis Quintet. Shorter joined the Quintet in Los Angeles on September 4.

These performances were broadcast on The Steve Allen Show. Installments of the show were pre-recorded. According to the UCLA Film Archive, the show with Debbie Reynolds (and "No Blues") was recorded on September 10 and broadcast on September 22; the show with Burt Lancaster (and "So What" and "All Blues") was recorded on September 11 and broadcast on September 25.

From June 1962 through October 1964, Allen produced his own Tonight Show-style talk and variety show; it was sponsored by Westinghouse and was informally known as the Westinghouse Show. Episodes were taped at the Steve Allen Playhouse in Hollywood (an old vaudeville theater located at 1228 North Vine Street, on the corner of La Mirada.

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