The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68 (Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The "Second Quintet" -- the Miles Davis Quintet of the mid-1960s -- was one of the most innovative and influential groups in the history of the genre. Each of the musicians who performed with Davis--saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams--went on to a successful career as a top player. The studio recordings released by this group made profound contributions to improvisational strategies, jazz composition, and mediation between mainstream and avant-garde jazz, yet most critical attention has focused instead on live performances or the socio-cultural context of the work. Keith Waters' The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68 concentrates instead on the music itself, as written, performed, and recorded.
Treating six different studio recordings in depth--ESP, Miles Smiles, Sorcerer, Nefertiti, Miles in the Sky, and Filles de Kilimanjaro--Waters has tracked down a host of references to and explications of Davis' work. His analysis takes into account contemporary reviews of the recordings, interviews with the five musicians, and relevant larger-scale cultural studies of the era, as well as two previously unexplored sources: the studio outtakes and Wayne Shorter's Library of Congress composition deposits. Only recently made available, the outtakes throw the master takes into relief, revealing how the musicians and producer organized and edited the material to craft a unified artistic statement for each of these albums. The author's research into the Shorter archives proves to be of even broader significance and interest, as Waters is able now to demonstrate the composer's original conception of a given piece. Waters also points out errors in the notated versions of the canonical songs as they often appear in the main sources available to musicians and scholars. An indispensible resource, The Miles Davis Quintet Studio Recordings: 1965-1968 is suited for the jazz scholar as well as for jazz musicians and aficionados of all levels.
involved a sincere artistic response to surrounding musical and cultural forces, or was merely crass commercialism—are all beyond the scope of this study. Speculation on such motivations, the influence of musicians and groups (such as Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, and James Brown) as well as the role of other individuals (such as Columbia Records executive Clive Davis and Davis’s second wife Betty Mabry) have been presented elsewhere in some detail.7 Discussion of motivations fuels the
quintet members and by others. Their availability as lead sheets in sources such as The Real Book has heightened their visibility, although some lead sheets contain inaccurate harmonies and melodies (such as “Orbits,” “Pee Wee,” “Prince of Darkness,” and “Pinocchio”). The studio compositions reflect an expansion of compositional resources available to jazz composers through chord type (harmonic structure), chord-to-chord succession (harmonic progression), and through their departure from
of the session reels. Rehearsal Take A: Davis works with Carter on accompanimental figure, makes suggestions about articulation, harmony, and rhythm (eighth notes). Davis suggests that Carter play “eighth notes off the chord.” Rehearsal Take B: Group plays 10-bar head 2 times (2-bar ostinato in bass, swing feel in drums). Rehearsal Take C: Davis suggests to Hancock to play chord (rather than phrase with Carter), plays B7(9/11); Hancock plays a doubly diminished harmony. Rehearsal Take D:
The alternate take maintains the same Level 1a to 2a shift during Hancock’s solo. There, as in the released track, the rhythm section plays more freely the first half of the piano solo (preserving pulse, but not consistent meter or hypermeter) before moving to a 4/4 accompaniment with walking bass. And there, as in the released track, Hancock preserves the harmonic progression during both portions, cycling through the composition’s six chords consistently. In contrast, the horn solos on both the
However, the harmonies played by the group at those measures differ. These harmonies at m. 2 (Amin9, resolving to Dmin6/9) and m. 10 (Bmin9, resolving to Emin6/9) do not immediately appear to be as functional as the G13 and A13 harmonies supplied by The Real Book. Nevertheless we may understand them as deriving from more standard harmonic progressions. To do so requires two levels of substitution. The first substitution is indicated in example 6.8. First, it requires that we hear and consider