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Miles Ahead session details

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November 19, 1969 (4 items; TT = 50:19)
Columbia Studio E, New York NY
Commercial for Columbia
Show chatter

Miles Davis (tpt); Steve Grossman (ss); Bennie Maupin (bcl); Herbie Hancock (el-p); Chick Corea (el-p); John McLaughlin (g); Khalil Balakrishna (sitar); Bihari Sharma (tabla, tamboura); Ron Carter (b); Harvey Brooks (el-b); Billy Cobham (d, perc); Airto Moreira (perc)

1 Great Expectations (M. Davis) 13:44

Edited (2:40) on Columbia 45090, CSK 41598 and CBS 450472. Splice at 4:38 of SRCS 9321/2 version (= 4:43 of Columbia Legacy C4K 65570 version)
2 Orange Lady (J. Zawinul) 13:47
3 Yaphet (J. Zawinul) 9:39
4 Corrado (M. Davis) 13:09


1 Great Expectations
45 rpm: Columbia 4-45090
12" LP: Columbia PG 32866, CBS/Sony SOPW 5/6, CBS/Sony 20AP 1779/10, CBS/Sony 28AP 2159/60, CBS/Sony 36AP 1779/80, CBS (F) 450472, Mosaic MQ6-183, Vinyl Me, Please A017
CD: Columbia CSK 41598, Columbia Legacy C4K 65570, Columbia Legacy C4K 90924, Columbia Legacy C2K 63973, CBS/Sony 50DP 705/6, Sony SRCS 5713/4, Sony SRCS 9321/2, Sony 8837/40, Sony SICP 669/72, Sony SRCS 9737/8, Sony SRCS 836/7, Sony SICJ 30080/1, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922 [= Columbia (F) 86975 52492] (CD 34)

2 Orange Lady
12" LP: Columbia PG 32866, CBS/Sony SOPW 5/6, CBS/Sony 20AP 1779/10, CBS/Sony 28AP 2159/60, CBS/Sony 36AP 1779/80, Mosaic MQ6-183, Vinyl Me, Please A017
CD: Columbia Legacy C4K 65570, Columbia Legacy C4K 90924, Columbia Legacy C2K 63973, CBS/Sony 50DP 705/6, Sony SRCS 5713/4, Sony SRCS 9321/2, Sony 8837/40, Sony SICP 669/72, Sony SRCS 9737/8, Sony SRCS 836/7, Sony SICJ 30080/1, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922 [= Columbia (F) 86975 52492] (CD 34)

3 Yaphet
12" LP: Mosaic MQ6-183
CD: Columbia Legacy C4K 65570, Columbia Legacy C4K 90924, Columbia Legacy C2K 63973, Sony 8837/40, Sony SICP 669/72, Sony SRCS 9737/8, Sony SRCS 836/7, Sony SICJ 30080/1, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922 [= Columbia (F) 86975 52492] (CD 34)

4 Corrado
12" LP: Mosaic MQ6-183
CD: Columbia Legacy C4K 65570, Columbia Legacy C4K 90924, Sony 8837/40, Sony SICP 669/72


"Great Expectations" consists of a simple melodic phrase played on open and muted trumpet over a Peter Gunn-like ostinato bass vamp. It unfolds like this:

"Great Expectations" (CBS/Sony 36AP 1779/80)
0:00-0:37 Ensemble
0:37-1:17 Theme #1 (muted)
1:17-2:04 Theme #2 (muted)
2:04-2:45 Theme #3 (muted)
2:45-3:17 Theme #4 (open)
3:17-3:50 Theme #5 (open)
3:50-4:33 Theme #6 (open)
4:33-5:05 edit to ensemble
5:05-5:36 Theme #7 (muted)
5:36-6:12 Theme #8 (muted)
6:12-6:54 Theme #9 (muted)
6:54-7:34 Theme #10 (muted)
7:34-8:07 Theme #11 (open, with echo)
8:07-8:35 Theme #12 (open, with echo)
8:35-9:01 Theme #13 (open, ornamented)
9:01-10:00 ensemble - el-p solo, g solo
10:00-10:37 Theme #14 (open, with echo)
10:37-11:21 Theme #15 (open, with echo)
11:21-11:50 Theme #16 (open, with echo)
11:50-12:16 ensemble
12:16-12:59 Theme #17 (open, staccato)
12:59-13:31 Theme #18 (muted)

"Orange Lady" was rehearsed briefly at the end of the August 19 session which yielded "Bitches Brew," "John McLaughlin," and "Sanctuary." It consists of three parts: the first is in A, the second in B, and the third, with a jaunty samba-like rhythm, in G. On Big Fun it was tacked onto the end of "Great Expectations," and was separately listed beginning with the Bitches Brew Sessions box (Mosaic MQ6-183, Columbia Legacy C4K 65570).

The re-edited "Orange Lady" from the boxed set differs slightly from the original version released on Big Fun. The latter contains a splice at 11:23, and repeats a fragment; and there is another splice at 12:23. The re-edited version does not contain the repeated fragment; it has only one audible splice, at 12:22.

"Orange Lady" (original)
0:00-0:27 Introduction
0:27-1:18 Theme #1
1:18-2:48 Theme #2
2:48-4:27 Theme #2
4:27-6:16 Theme #2
6:16-11:14 Theme #2 - ensemble groove (theme #3)
11:14-11:26 loop (11:20-11:26 repeats 11:14-11:20)
11:26-12:19 Theme #1
12:19-12:29 edit to berimbau intro
12:29-13:40 Theme #1
"Orange Lady" (re-edit)
0:00-0:27 Introduction
0:00-0:27 Introduction
0:27-1:19 Theme #1
1:19-2:49 Theme #2
2:49-4:29 Theme #2
4:26-6:20 Theme #2
6:20-11:28 Theme #2 - ensemble groove (theme #3); no repeat at 11:14; Davis says "just play the first part" at 11:23-11:24
11:28-12:22 Theme #1
12:22-12:31 edit to berimbau intro
12:31-13:47 Theme #1

"Yaphet" is credited to Davis, but it's almost certainly a Joe Zawinul composition. Compare the melody at 0:02-1:32 of "Yaphet" with 1:39-2:19 of the version of "Orange Lady" from Weather Report's first album.

This is the first issued session in which Davis used a sitar player. He continued to use sitars off and on until early 1973, when Pete Cosey joined his band.

While larger groups were recording new compositions in the studio, the Davis Quintet (and, after the addition of Airto Moreira in mid-December, the Sextet) was booked at several venues on the east coast: Colonial Tavern, Toronto (December 1-6: Sonny Greenwich is alleged to have joined the Quintet on at least one of these nights!); Village Gate, New York (December 12-13, 19-20, January 2-3, 6-10); Cellar Door, Washington (January 12-17); Spectrum, Philadelphia (January 18).

Wayne Shorter did not make this date or the later one on November 28 (his daughter was born during the Quintet's European tour in October-November); Davis replaced him with Steve Grossman, who would join for good in early 1970.

Thanks to Pat Buzby and Alexander Keth for help with this session, and to Bob Elliot for sharing the advertisement from the Toronto Star.

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