Hear Miles Davis Request Champagne, Rehearse Band in 1967 - Rolling Stone
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Hear Miles Davis Request Champagne, Rehearse Band in 1967 Studio Outtake

“Water Babies” session reel will appear on new Davis Bootleg Series set ‘Freedom Jazz Dance’

Miles Davis plays trumpet

Hear a moody alternate take of "Water Babies," complete with studio chatter, from 'Freedom Jazz Dance,' a new Miles Davis Bootleg Series release.

Veryl Oakland

A new volume of Miles Davis‘ Bootleg Series focuses on the in-studio working life of the trumpeter’s so-called second great quintet. The three-CD set, Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5, includes master takes and complete session reels for the group’s classic 1967 album Miles Smiles, featuring never-before-heard alternate takes, false starts, studio chatter and real-time documentation of the band refining the material. 

The set also features a selection of previously unreleased Davis studio material from ’67 and ’68, such as the eight-minute-plus session reel for “Water Babies,” a Wayne Shorter composition that originally appeared on the 1976 Davis album of the same name. Hear an edited version of the track below.

“Did you order the champagne?” the scratchy-voiced trumpeter asks the engineer at the beginning of the clip, recorded on June 7th, 1967. After he’s assured that the beverage is on its way, Davis counts in saxophonist Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams, and the group begins playing the moody, waltzing piece. After one brief false start, the band launches into a longer partial take featuring a full Davis trumpet solo. Even in this fragment, the quintet’s moody, textural signature sound is on riveting display. 

Among the other tracks on Freedom Jazz Dance are full session reels for “Nefertiti” and “Fall,” Shorter pieces originally released on 1968’s Nefertiti; a rhythm-section-only rehearsal of “Country Son,” a Davis composition heard in its full form on 1968’s Miles in the Sky; and “Blues in F (My Ding),” a casual home recording of Davis joking and chatting with Shorter while sketching out a new piece on piano.

Freedom Jazz Dance is out October 21st and available for preorder now. In August, Shorter and Hancock performed as part of a new supergroup, Mega Nova, that also includes Carlos Santana. Hancock has also been working on new solo material with a variety of younger artists, including Flying Lotus and Terrace Martin, a saxophonist who appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Ron Carter will lead his Great Big Band at New York’s Birdland from September 27th through October 1st.

In This Article: Miles Davis


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