Miles Ahead session details

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November 27, 1968 (13 items; TT = 63:12)
Columbia Studio B, New York NY
Commercial for Columbia
Miles Davis Studio Group
Chatter: [show] [hide]

Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss, ts); Chick Corea (el-p); Herbie Hancock (el-p); Josef Zawinul (el-p, org); Dave Holland (b, el-b); Jack De Johnette (d, perc); Teo Macero (perc)

1 Ascent (take 1) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 4:44
2 Ascent (take 2) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 2:28
3 Ascent (take 3) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 4:42
4 Ascent (take 4) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 4:35

Issued as part of composite take
5 Ascent (take 6) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 3:49
6 Ascent (take 7) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 3:30
7 Ascent (take 8) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 5:09

Issued as part of composite take
8 Ascent (new take 1) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 2:38

Issued as part of composite take
9 Ascent (new take 2) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 2:32
10 Ascent (new take 11) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 2:37

Issued as part of composite take
11 Ascent (composite take) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 14:52

Splices at 4:35, 9:40, and 12:04 of original version (4:35, 9:44, and 12:16 of re-edited version)
12 Directions (take 1) (J. Zawinul) 6:46
13 Directions (take 2) (J. Zawinul) 4:50


11 Ascent (composite take)
12" LP: Columbia KC2 36474, CBS/Sony 38AP 2017/8, Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, CBS/Sony CSCS 5135/6, Sony SRCS 9310/1, Sony SRCS 9761/2, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6

12 Directions (take 1)
12" LP: Columbia KC2 36474, CBS/Sony 38AP 2017/8, Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, CBS/Sony CSCS 5135/6, Sony SRCS 9310/1, Sony SRCS 9761/2, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6

13 Directions (take 2)
12" LP: Columbia KC2 36474, CBS/Sony 38AP 2017/8, Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, Columbia CK 65449, CBS/Sony CSCS 5135/6, Sony SRCS 9310/1, Sony SRCS 9761/2, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6


"Ascent" was recorded in parts. The structure of the issued version is as follows:

LP version 00:00-04:35 = CD version 00:00-04:35 = take 4 (no tpt or ss)
LP version 04:35-09:40 = CD version 04:35-09:44 = take 8 (ss solo)
LP version 09:40-12:04 = CD version 09:44-12:16 = new take 11 (tpt solo)
LP version 12:04-14:40 = CD version 12:16-14:52 = new take 1 (tpt solo)

Some of these takes are very tentative (e.g., 2:17 of take 1, where the keyboards seem to lose their place, and 2:56, where Holland prompts the keyboards for the chords). In take 8, despite this being his first recording on soprano saxophone, Shorter plays a beautiful solo. Davis' solo in new take 11 is reminiscent of his playing with Gil Evans -- was Evans involved in this session?

Items 1-3 are sometimes identified with rejected interludes from the November 12 session, and items 5-6 with the rejected interludes from the November 25 session. Jan Lohmann has convinced me that they belong here. The mood, instrumentation, and playing is similar throughout, and it makes good sense that these items belong together. The question then becomes, what has happened to the rejected interludes from those earlier sessions?

Crossfades in the original version of "Ascent" (at 9:40 and 12:04) resulted in several missing measures. Mosaic MQ5-209 and Columbia C3K 65362 correct this with clean edits that maintain the structure of the piece. Note the additional 12 seconds (14:52 vs. 14:40).

The other short interlude with a Davis solo (new take 2) was not used.

Hancock is out on both takes of "Directions"; Zawinul takes his place on electric piano. This tune entered the live book immediately -- it was performed at Boston's Jazz Workshop in early December, and Davis continued to perform it as a set-opener until late 1971.

This is Jack De Johnette's first studio session with Davis. He was brought in at Tony Williams's recommendation. Williams was eager to form his own group, which he finally did in early 1969.

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