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Miles Ahead session details

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November 11, 1968 (2 items; TT = 31:19)
Columbia Studio B, New York NY
Commercial for Columbia
Show chatter

Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ts); Chick Corea (el-p); Herbie Hancock (el-p); Dave Holland (b); Tony Williams (d, perc)

1 Two Faced (part 1, takes 3, 1, 6, 7) (W. Shorter) 18:00
2 Dual Mr. Anthony Tillmon Williams Process (new take 1) (M. Davis) 13:19


1 Two Faced (part 1, takes 3, 1, 6, 7)
12" LP: Columbia PC 34396, CBS/Sony 18AP 2072, CBS/Sony 23AP 2572, CBS/Sony 25AP 314, Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, CBS/Sony 32DP 727, Sony SRCS 5710, Sony SRCS 9307, Sony SRCS 9736, Sony SICP 831, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922

2 Dual Mr. Anthony Tillmon Williams Process (new take 1)
12" LP: Columbia PC 34396, CBS/Sony 18AP 2072, CBS/Sony 23AP 2572, CBS/Sony 25AP 314, Mosaic MQ5-209
CD: Columbia C3K 65362, Columbia C3K 90921, CBS/Sony 32DP 727, Sony SRCS 5710, Sony SRCS 9307, Sony SRCS 9736, Sony SICP 831, Sony SICP 35/7, Sony SICP 924/6, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922


This is the first session in which Davis adds a second keyboard to the group. The notes to the In a Silent Way Sessions box (Mosaic MQ5-209, Columbia C3K 65362) state that Hancock plays a Fender Rhodes electric piano ("even going to the point of customizing [it] to make the notes ring clearer"), but Frederik Adlers has convinced me that he is playing a Wurlitzer electric piano (center of the stereo image). Corea (audible in the left channel) plays an RMI Electra Piano.

When originally released, "Dual Mr. Anthony Tillmon Williams Process" was listed on the sleeve and label as "Dual Mr. Tillman Anthony (William Process)." Since Tony Williams's full name is Anthony Tillmon Williams, the title is more likely to be as listed here. Davis is usually credited as composer -- perhaps with Gil Evans' help? -- but Williams may have been involved as well. The title is registered with BMI (work #348169) as "Dual Mister Tillman Anthony," with alternate titles listed as "Dual Mr. Tillman Anthony" and "Dual Mr. Tillman Anthony William Process"; it appears on the track sheet for this session as "Dual Mr. Anthony Tillman Williams Process." I am grateful to Joek Roex for discussion about the title.

The issued version of "Dual Mr. Anthony Tillmon Williams Process" does not contain any audible edits, but it was preceded by more than twenty rehearsal takes, false starts, and incomplete takes during which the themes and shape of the tune were worked out. Its melody is a combination of two themes, a nine-bar bass line centered around B-flat, and a five-measure vamp-like figure starting on E-flat. The piece unfolds as follows:

0:00-0:28 Trumpet fanfare and introduction
0:28-1:01 Melody stated
1:01-4:52 Hancock solo
4:52-7:04 Davis solo
7:04-9:30 Shorter solo
9:30-10:34 Ensemble
10:34-10:45 Interlude
10:45-13:15 Williams solo over original two-part theme

"Two Faced" is a composite with a number of audible edits. It moves back and forth between two themes, with Holland and Williams in full control and the soloists playing over them. Here is a rough road map, with a time range and what is happening during that stretch:

0:00-0:42 Theme #1
0:43-1:56 Theme #2 (Davis solo)
1:56-2:36 [edit #1] Theme #1
2:36-4:55 Theme #2 (Hancock, Corea)
4:55-5:16 Theme #1
5:16-5:35 Theme #1 (Shorter solo)
5:35-7:40 Theme #2 (Shorter solo)
7:40-8:22 Theme #1
8:22-9:23 [edit #2] Theme #2 (Davis, Shorter)
9:23-9:51 Theme #2 (Hancock, Corea)
9:51-9:56 Theme #2 (Corea solo)
9:56-10:05 Theme #2 (Hancock solo)
10:05-10:22 Theme #2 (Corea solo)
10:22-10:49 Theme #2 (Hancock solo)
10:49-12:01 Theme #2 (Hancock/Corea two-bar exchanges)
12:01-14:16 [edit #3] Theme #2 (Davis solo)
14:16-14:29 Theme #2 (Hancock solo)
14:29-15:39 Theme #2 (Shorter solo)
15:39-16:20 Theme #1
16:20-17:19 Theme #2 (Hancock, Corea)
17:19-18:00 Theme #2 (Davis, Shorter)

This thematic breakdown maps nicely onto the list of takes from which the composite was assembled:

0:00-1:55 (1:55) Part 2 take 3 (0:09-2:05)
1:55-8:22 (6:26) Part 1 take 1 (0:13-6:38) [post-edit #1 above]
8:22-12:01 (3:39) Part 2 take 6 (0:05-3:44) [post-edit #2 above]
12:01-18:00 (5:59) Part 2 take 7 (0:04-6:03) [post-edit #3 above]

Along with "Circle in the Round" from December 1967 and the music from Filles de Kilimanjaro from June and September 1968, these tracks provide striking examples of Davis's late-1960s music. Next stop, In a Silent Way.

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