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Miles Ahead session details

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December 4, 1967 (2 items; TT = 59:49)
Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York NY
Commercial for Columbia
Miles Davis Quintet plus Joe Beck

Miles Davis (tpt, chimes, tubular bells); Wayne Shorter (ts); Herbie Hancock (celeste); Joe Beck (g); Ron Carter (b); Tony Williams (d)

1 Circle in the Round (Teo Macero composite) (M. Davis) 33:29
2 Circle in the Round (Stan Tonkel composite) (M. Davis) 26:20


1 Circle in the Round (Teo Macero composite)
12" LP: Mosaic MQ10-177
CD: Columbia C6K 67398, Columbia C6K 90925, Sony SRCS 8575/80, Sony SICP 663/8

2 Circle in the Round (Stan Tonkel composite)
12" LP: Columbia KC2 36278, CBS/Sony 36AP 1409/10
CD: Columbia C2K 46862, CBS/Sony CSCS 5340/1, Sony SRCS 9308/9, Sony SRCS 9759/60, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922


Davis left the "Newport Jazz Festival in Europe" tour early after a dispute with producer George Wein. The rest of the Quintet performed the final concert or two of the tour as "The Wayne Shorter Quartet."

Once back in New York, the Quintet reunited and resumed its busy studio schedule. This was the first session in which Davis supplemented the Quintet with another voice, to provide more "bottom" as Davis was to call it. In addition, Davis and Teo Macero began regularly to record tunes in pieces, and then rely on editing and other post-production techniques to produce a finished product. (This was not new, of course. Many of tunes resulting from the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaborations in the late 1950s involve such post-production techniques.)

More than an hour of music, in 35 takes spanning two reels of tape, was recorded during this session. The raw material was used to create two issued versions of "Circle in the Round." Teo Macero assembled the first (33:29) in 1968, but it was put on the shelf and only issued in 1997 as part of the complete 1960s Quintet recordings (Mosaic MQ10-177, Columbia C6K 67398). Stan Tonkel assembled the second (26:20), which was issued in 1979 on the LP Circle in the Round.

Enrico Merlin has published helpful comparisons of the two versions -- see his sessionography in Paul Tingen's book Miles Beyond (p. 305), and in more detail in Bitches Brew: Genesi del capolavaro di Miles Davis (Milano: Il Saggiatori, 2009), pp. 45-50. Merlin rightly notes that 10:03-26:18 of Tonkel's version is substantially the same as 17:20-33:01 of Macero's. They are interestingly different in the first ten minutes, however. In the comparison below I have tried to identify the edits involved in the two composites; each segment is accompanied by a brief description of the musical content. (Macero's composite [left] uses material from takes 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14-24, and 26-35; Tonkel's [right] uses material from takes 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14-16, 19-20, 22-24, and 26-35.)

Teo Macero composite (1968)
0:00-3:14 Introduction; theme (Shorter/Davis) at 0:26; Williams solo #1 at 2:11
3:14-4:47 Williams solo #1 (continued); theme (Shorter/Davis) at 3:36; Williams solo #2 at 4:28
4:47-5:27 Carter solo; theme (Shorter/Davis) at 5:01
5:27-5:52 Williams solo #3
5:52-7:01 Williams solo #3 (continued); theme (Shorter/Davis) at 6:17; back to Williams (6:44)
7:01-8:42 Hancock solo, Williams sticks on drum kit
8:42-9:06 Davis solo #1
9:06-11:34 Davis solo #1 (continued); Shorter solo #1 at 9:57; Davis solo #2 at 10:45
11:34-12:07 Davis solo #2 (continued)
12:07-12:12 Davis solo #2 (continued)
12:12-13:50 Davis solo #2 (continued); Shorter solo #2 at 13:00
13:50-15:59 Davis solo #3
15:59-16:31 Davis solo #3 (continued)
16:31-18:09 Davis solo #3 (continued)
18:09-19:45 Davis solo #3 (continued)
19:45-21:22 Shorter solo #3
21:22-22:08 Davis solo #4
22:08-23:49 Davis solo #4 (continued)
23:49-25:26 Carter solo
25:26-27:03 Williams solo; back to Carter at 26:46
27:03-28:48 Davis solo #5
28:48-29:54 Davis solo #6
29:54-30:50 Shorter solo #4
30:50-31:35 Davis solo #7
31:35-32:05 Davis/Shorter interplay #1
32:05-32:35 Davis/Shorter interplay #2
32:35-33:01 Davis/Shorter interplay #3
33:01-33:29 Davis/Shorter interplay #4
Stan Tonkel composite (1979)
0:00-1:19 Introduction; theme (Shorter/Davis) at 0:26
1:19-2:22 Williams solo
2:22-2:49 Theme (Shorter)
2:49-3:36 Theme (Shorter/Davis); Williams solo #2 at 3:16
3:36-4:15 Carter solo; theme (Shorter/Davis) at 3:49
4:15-4:46 Williams solo #3
4:46-5:49 Williams solo #3 (continued); theme (Davis/Shorter) at 5:05
5:49-6:13 Hancock solo, Williams sticks on drum kit
6:13-6:16 Hancock solo (continued), Williams sticks on drum kit
6:16-7:30 Hancock solo (continued)
7:30-7:32 Opening notes from Davis solo #1 (= 8:42-8:44 of TM version)
7:32-8:22 Davis solo #2
8:22-9:14 Shorter solo #1
9:14-10:03 Davis solo #3
10:03-10:54 Davis solo #3 (continued), from 17:19 of TM version
10:54-12:30 Davis solo #3 (continued), from 18:09 of TM version
12:30-14:07 Shorter solo #3
14:07-14:53 Davis solo #4
14:53-16:34 Davis solo #4 (continued)
16:34-18:12 Carter solo
18:12-19:49 Williams solo (starts one beat later than TM version); back to Carter at 19:32
19:49-21:34 Davis solo #5
21:34-22:41 Davis solo #6
22:41-23:36 Shorter solo #4
23:36-24:22 Davis solo #7
24:22-24:52 Davis/Shorter interplay #1
24:52-25:22 Davis/Shorter interplay #2
25:22-25:48 Davis/Shorter interplay #3
25:48-26:18 Davis/Shorter interplay #4
26:18-26:20 Davis asks "Why?"

Several bits are included in The Miles Davis Radio Project (American Public Radio, 1990).

Soon after this studio date the Quintet headed to the Midwest, where they were booked at Chicago's Plugged Nickel Club (December 6-10).

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