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Miles Ahead session details

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February 18, 1969 (7 items; TT = 84:50)
Columbia Studio B, New York NY
Commercial for Columbia
Miles Davis Studio Group

Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss); John McLaughlin (g); Herbie Hancock (el-p); Chick Corea (el-p); Josef Zawinul (org); Dave Holland (b); Tony Williams (d)

1 Shhh/Peaceful (composite) (M. Davis) 19:12
2 In a Silent Way (rehearsal 1) (J. Zawinul) 6:27
3 In a Silent Way (rehearsal 2) (J. Zawinul) 5:23
4 In a Silent Way (unedited) (J. Zawinul) 4:15
5 It's About That Time (composite) (M. Davis) 11:26

Audible splice at 0:18
6 Shhh/Peaceful (LP version) (M. Davis) 18:16
7 In a Silent Way - It's About That Time (LP version) (J. Zawinul-M. Davis) 19:51


1 Shhh/Peaceful (composite)
12" LP: Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6

3 In a Silent Way (rehearsal 2)
12" LP: Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6

4 In a Silent Way (unedited)
45 rpm: Columbia 88725 473257 SV
12" LP: Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6

5 It's About That Time (composite)
12" LP: Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, Columbia 69699 89152, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6

6 Shhh/Peaceful (LP version)
12" LP: Columbia CS 9875 (= PC 9875), Music on Vinyl MOV LP028, Mobile Fidelity Sound Laboratory MFSL 1-377, CBS/Sony SONP 50131, CBS/Sony SOPL 170, CBS/Sony 18AP 2075, CBS/Sony 23AP 2575, CBS/Sony 25AP 770, Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia CK 40580, Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, Columbia CK 86556, CBS/Sony 35DP 70, CBS/Sony 32DP 730, Sony SRCS 5712, Sony SRCS 9117, Sony SRCS 9713, Sony SRGS 4511, Sony SIGP 29, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6, Sony SICP 833, Sony SICP 1219, Sony SICP 20059, , Sony SICP 30266, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922

7 In a Silent Way - It's About That Time (LP version)
12" LP: Columbia CS 9875 (= PC 9875), Music on Vinyl MOV LP028, Mobile Fidelity Sound Laboratory MFSL 1-377, Columbia C5X 45000, CBS/Sony SONP 50131, CBS/Sony SOPL 170, CBS/Sony 18AP 2075, CBS/Sony 23AP 2575, CBS/Sony 25AP 770, CBS/Sony 00AP 2076/81, Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia CK 40580, Columbia C4K 45000, Columbia C4K 86569, Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, Columbia CK 86556, CBS/Sony 35DP 70, CBS/Sony 32DP 730, Sony SRCS 5712, CBS/Sony 80DP 872/5, Sony SRCS 5691/4, CBS/Sony 80DP 5430/3, Sony SICP 5037/40, Sony SRCS 9117, Sony SRCS 9713, Sony SRGS 4511, Sony SIGP 29, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6, Sony SICP 833, Sony SICP 1219, Sony SICP 20059, , Sony SICP 30266, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922


About forty minutes of music was recorded during this session, which ran from 10:00 am until 1:30 pm. The listings above include a number of edited versions which combine bits in different ways.

The composite version of "Shhh/Peaceful" (item 1 above) was first included in the Complete In a Silent Way Sessions sets issued by Mosaic and Columbia in 2001, but it was assembled by Teo Macero in 1969. In his notes to the boxed set, Bob Belden suggests that this version "is as close as we will get to how the band actually played it (in pieces of course) that day." He also claims that "it contains all the usable music recorded." Macero's composite working version of "Shhh/Peaceful" is deconstructed below (left). The composite version is the starting-point for the version issued on side A of the original LP (right).

Composite version Source material*
00:00-00:19 Part 1
00:19-00:22 Part 1A
00:22-00:41 Part 2 (g solo)
00:41-02:47 Part 1 (theme stated 8 times)
02:47-02:50 Part 1A
02:50-03:56 Part 2 (g solo)
03:56-04:26 Part 1 (theme stated 2 times)
04:26-04:41 Part 3 (tpt/ss melody; begins with snare)
04:41-04:43 Part 4 theme
04:43-07:53 Part 2 (g solo with el-p)
07:53-08:24 Part 1 (theme stated 2 times)
08:24-08:39 Part 3 (tpt/ss melody begins with snare)
08:39-08:41 Part 4 theme
08:41-10:21 Part 2 (g, then ss solo)
10:21-10:51 Part 1 (theme stated 2 times)
10:51-11:06 Part 3 (tpt/ss melody begins with snare)
11:06-11:09 Part 4 theme
11:09-12:20 Part 2 (g, el-p)
12:20-12:29 Part 5 (org + g chord)
12:29-13:00 Part 1 (theme stated 2 times)
13:00-13:14 Part 3 (tpt/ss melody with g, no snare)
13:14-13:16 Part 4 theme
13:16-14:43 Part 2 (org, g)
14:43-18:27 Part 2 (tpt solo, begins with hi-hat; slow fade)
18:27-19:15 Part 2 (vamp, faded out)
LP version Composite version
00:00-00:06 Part 5 (org, g chord), 12:21-12:27
00:07-01:33 Part 2 (g solo), 13:16-14:43
01:33-05:15 Part 2 (tpt solo), 14:43-18:27
05:15-05:55 Part 2 closing vamp, 18:27-19:07
05:55-06:14 Part 2 (g solo), 0:22-0:41
06:14-09:09 Part 2 (g, keyboards), 4:43-7:38
09:09-10:43 Part 2 (ss solo), 8:41-10:15
10:43-10:46 Part 4 theme, 11:06-11:09
10:46-11:57 Part 2 (g, keyboards), 11:09-12:19
11:57-12:03 Part 5 (org, g chord), 12:21-12:27
12:03-13:30 Part 2 (g solo), 13:16-14:43
13:30-17:12 Part 2 (tpt solo), 14:43-18:27
17:12-17:53 Part 2 closing vamp, 18:27-19:07
17:53-18:15 Part 2 closing vamp, 18:52-19:15

* The "parts" referred to here are different themes or motives; we may never know if they represent separate "takes." In the table, entries like "Part 2 (g solo)" and "Part 2 (ss solo)" refer to the same underlying theme or motive with different solos on top.

"It's About That Time" (item 5) was also assembled by Macero from several "takes" -- but in the absence of the unedited material it is impossible to say whether these were in fact different takes in the traditional sense. In any case, the tune includes two distinct bass vamps: one is a quick three-note repeated suspended pattern which Belden describes as "hover[ing] between E-flat and F" (call this vamp #1) and a longer sinewy pattern whose tonality is "definitely F mixolydian" (vamp #2) (see table on left). Side B of the original LP began and ended with Zawinul's "In a Silent Way," between which Macero included a lightly-edited version of the composite working version (right).

Composite version** Source material
00:00-00:34 Take 1 (vamp #1)
00:34-02:30 Take 2 (vamp #1)
02:30-02:47 Take 3 (vamp #1)
02:47-03:39 Take 4 (vamp #1)
03:39-04:32 Take 4 (vamp #2)
04:32-05:52 Take 5, ss solo (vamp #1)
05:52-07:02 Take 5, ss solo continued (Holland switches to vamp #2)
07:02-08:05 Take 5, tpt solo (back to #1)
08:05-09:16 Take 5, tpt solo continued (#2)
09:16-10:07 Take 5, tpt solo continued (back to #1)
10:07-11:05 Take 5, tpt solo continued (#2)
LP version Source material
00:00-04:10 In a Silent Way
04:10-04:57 Composite 9:16-10:01
04:57-15:38 Composite 0:00-10:40
15:38-19:51 In a Silent Way (reprise)

** The issued composite version of "It's About That Time" (item 5) begins with a fade-in of the closing vamp from "Shhh/Peaceful." This might be taken to indicate that this is a complete performance (the two tracks together making up a single 30:19 track). This appearance of continuity is almost certainly an illusion created by Macero's skillful editing. There is an audible splice at 0:18 of the issued "It's About That Time" composite indicating where the tunes were joined (if they ever were joined). Of the five distinct takes of this tune Macero preserved 0:34 of take 1, 1:56 of take 2, 0:17 of take 3, 1:45 of take 4, and 6:32 of take 5.

The Mosaic/Columbia Complete In a Silent Way Sessions (Mosaic MQ5-209, Columbia C3K 65362) includes, in addition to the first four titles listed here, the original LP versions of "Shhh/Peaceful" (18:16) and "In a Silent Way" (4:11) - "It's About That Time" (11:27) - "In a Silent Way" (4:13). What I have listed as "rehearsal 1" of "In a Silent Way" is not included in the Mosaic/Columbia sets: it has Davis getting familiar with the melody with the rhythm section; Shorter does not play on this take.

Bill Laswell's Panthalassa (Columbia CK 67909, Sony SRCS 8457) includes a 5:10 excerpt/remix of "Shhh/Peaceful," a 5:22 remix of "In a Silent Way," a 3:33 excerpt/remix of "It's About That Time," and a 1:08 remix of "In a Silent Way."

The collaboration Panthalassa: The Remixes (Columbia CK 69897, Sony SRJS 6010, Sony SRCS 8906) includes a 10:24 remix of "Shhh/Peaceful" listed as "SEA4 Miles Remix," and a 5:02 remix of "In a Silent Way."

There is a 4:53 remix of "It's About That Time" on Evolution of the Groove (Columbia Legacy 89152). Additional musicians include: Carlos Santana (g), Pat Thrall (g, programming), Geri Allen (el-p), Charlie Drayton (el-b, programming), Vincent Wilburn, Jr. (d), Aziza Faye and Ndongo Mbaye (perc).

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