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Miles Ahead session details

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August 21, 1969 (16 items; TT = 80:36)
Columbia Studio B, New York NY
Commercial for Columbia
Show chatter

Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss); Bennie Maupin (bcl); John McLaughlin (g); Chick Corea (el-p); Josef Zawinul (el-p); Larry Young (el-p); Dave Holland (b); Harvey Brooks (el-b); Jack De Johnette (d); Lenny White (d); Charles Don Alias (d, perc); Jumma Santos [Jim Riley] (perc)

1 Spanish Key (take 1) (M. Davis) 4:11
2 Spanish Key (take 2) (M. Davis) 10:37
3 Spanish Key (take 3) (M. Davis) 7:36
4 Spanish Key (take 4) (M. Davis) 6:54
5 Spanish Key (issued version) (M. Davis) 17:25

Edited (2:49) on Columbia 45171 and CSK 41598; edited (11:50) on Columbia CAS 42193
6 Pharaoh's Dance (part 1 take 1) (J. Zawinul) 1:11
7 Pharaoh's Dance (part 1 take 2) (J. Zawinul) 1:47
8 Pharaoh's Dance (part 2 take 1) (J. Zawinul) 0:35
9 Pharaoh's Dance (part 2 take 2) (J. Zawinul) 2:25
10 Pharaoh's Dance (part 2 take 3) (J. Zawinul) 1:20
11 Pharaoh's Dance (part 2 take 4) (J. Zawinul) 1:36
12 Pharaoh's Dance (insert take 1) (J. Zawinul) 0:31
13 Pharaoh's Dance (insert take 2) (J. Zawinul) 0:57
14 Pharaoh's Dance (insert take 3) (J. Zawinul) 0:34
15 Pharaoh's Dance (insert take 4) (J. Zawinul) 2:53
16 Pharaoh's Dance (issued version) (J. Zawinul) 20:04


2 Spanish Key (take 2)
CD: Columbia Legacy 88697 70274, Columbia Legacy 88697 54519

5 Spanish Key (issued version)
45 rpm: Columbia 4-45171
12" LP: Columbia GP 26 (= CS 9996, PG 30977, GQ 30977), Music on Vinyl MOV LP020, Mobile Fidelity Sound Laboratory MFSL 2-439, Columbia CAS 42193 (12" single), CBS/Sony SONP 50255/6, CBS/Sony SOPL 24/5, CBS/Sony SOPJ 58/9, CBS/Sony 28AP 2151/2, CBS/Sony 36AP 1771/2, Mosaic MQ6-183, Columbia 88697 70274-2, Vinyl Me, Please A017
CD: Columbia C2K 40577, Columbia Legacy C2K 65774, Columbia Legacy C4K 65570, Columbia Legacy C4K 90924, Columbia Legacy CK 65449, Columbia Legacy 88697 70274, Columbia Legacy 88697 54519, Mobile Fidelity Sound Laboratory UDSACD 2149, CBS/Sony 50DP 703/4, CBS/Sony CSCS 5151/52, Sony SRCS 9118/9, Sony 8837/40, Sony SICP 669/72, Sony SRCS 9714/5, Sony SIGP 20/1, Sony SICP 834/5, Sony SICP 1220/1, SICJ 10008/9, Sony SICP 20002/3, Sony SICJ 30077/8, Sony SICP 30267/68, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922 [= Columbia (F) 86975 52492] (CD 33)

16 Pharaoh's Dance (issued version)
12" LP: Columbia GP 26 (= CS 9996, PG 30977, GQ 30977), Music on Vinyl MOV LP020, Mobile Fidelity Sound Laboratory MFSL 2-439, CBS/Sony SONP 50255/6, CBS/Sony SOPL 24/5, CBS/Sony SOPJ 58/9, CBS/Sony 28AP 2151/2, CBS/Sony 36AP 1771/2, Mosaic MQ6-183, Columbia 88697 70274-2, Vinyl Me, Please A017
CD: Columbia C2K 40577, Columbia Legacy C2K 65774, Columbia Legacy C4K 65570, Columbia Legacy C4K 90924, Columbia Legacy 88697 70274, Columbia Legacy 88697 54519, Mobile Fidelity Sound Laboratory UDSACD 2149, CBS/Sony 50DP 703/4, CBS/Sony CSCS 5151/52, Sony SRCS 9118/9, Sony 8837/40, Sony SICP 669/72, Sony SRCS 9714/5, Sony SIGP 20/1, Sony SICP 834/5, Sony SICP 1220/1, SICJ 10008/9, Sony SICP 20002/3, Sony SICJ 30077/8, Sony SICP 30267/68, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922 [= Columbia (F) 86975 52492] (CD 33)


"Spanish Key" was already in the Quintet's live book when it was recorded at this session, so minimal editing was needed to produce a finished product. The issued version unfolds as follows:

"Spanish Key"
0:00-0:50 Intro - groove
0:50-1:18 Davis states theme
1:18-3:10 Davis solo
3:10-3:24 Break by Corea - modulate to G
3:24-5:14 McLaughlin solo + keyboard interplay
5:14-5:33 Break by Corea - modulate to E - Davis states theme
5:33-8:40 edit to Shorter solo
8:40-9:16 Break by Corea - modulate to G - Shorter continues
9:16-9:47 Davis states theme
9:47-10:43 Corea/McLaughlin interplay
10:43-13:45 Davis states theme - solo
13:45-15:07 Break by Corea - modulate to G - Corea, Zawinul, Young interplay
15:07-16:48 Maupin solo
16:48-17:32 Davis states closing theme

Enrico Merlin has a nice discussion of the modulations in "Spanish Key" in Code M.D.: Coded Phrases in the First Electric Period, which can be found elsewhere on this website. See also his book with Veniero Rizzardi, Bitches Brew: Genesi del capolavaro di Miles Davis (Milano: Il Saggiatori, 2009), pp. 157-68.

"Pharaoh's Dance" is another post-production tour de force, with multiple edits, repeats, and post-production effects. Here is a rough guide to its structure:

"Pharaoh's Dance"
0:00-0:14 Part 1 theme 1 (A) (2x)
0:14-0:46 Vamp 2 / theme 2 (B)
0:46-0:56 theme 2 (C)
0:56-1:28 repeat theme 2 (B)
1:28-1:38 repeat them 2 (C)
1:38-1:49 repeat (A) beginning at 0:03
1:49-2:21 repeat theme 2 (B)
2:21-2:31 repeat theme 2 (C)
2:31-2:53 Davis solo
2:53-3:40 theme 1 - ensemble (keyb, bcl, cga)
3:40-5:39 Davis solo
5:39-7:55 Maupin solo (with Corea, McLaughlin)
7:55-8:29 edit to vamp/theme 2 (B)
8:29-8:54 edit to Davis tpt with delay (loop 2x)
8:54-9:00 keyboards + perc loop (5x)
9:00-10:41 Davis solo continues
10:41-11:01 Maupin/Davis interplay
11:01-11:48 Maupin solo with el-p
11:48-12:54 Shorter solo
12:54-14:06 McLaughlin solo
14:06-15:21 ensemble - Corea, Zawinul quote themes 1 and 2
15:21-16:41 closing theme (keyboards, then Maupin at 16:05)
16:41-20:08 Davis plays closing theme (8x); winds down

The music that does not appear on Bitches Brew is included on the bootleg CDs Deep Brew, Volume 1 and Deep Brew, Volume 2 (Mega Disc) and Unreleased Bitches Brew Session (So What (CDR) SW-146/47).

The tapes of these sessions contain a large number of gaps, the result of Teo Macero's editing and post-production. Apparently on this occasion Macero worked directly from the master tapes, not from safety copies; as a result there are no extant "complete" recordings of these sessions. For the details, consult Enrico Merlin and Veniero Rizzardi's book mentioned earlier, which carefully analyzes the issued recording and all available unused studio material.

The Davis Quintet maintained a busy touring schedule during this time: Rutgers University Stadium, New Brunswick (Rutgers Jazz Festival) (July 27); Sheraton Park Hotel, French Lick (French Lick Jazz Festival) (July 31); Spectrum, Philadelphia (August 15); Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis (St. Louis Jazz Festival) (August 16); Grant Park Auditorium Theatre, Chicago (August 22); Crosley Field, Cincinnati (Ohio Jazz Festival) (August 23); Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis (Memphis Jazz Festival) (August 24); Shelly's Manne-Hole, Los Angeles (September 9-21).

All original content on this website is licensed by Peter Losin under a Creative Commons License