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Miles Ahead session details

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April 17, 1963 (3 items; TT = 18:05)
Columbia Studio, Hollywood CA
Commercial for Columbia
Show chatter

Miles Davis (tpt); George Coleman (ts); Victor Feldman (p); Ron Carter (b); Frank Butler (d)

1 Seven Steps to Heaven (take 3) (V. Feldman-M. Davis) 5:39
2 Seven Steps to Heaven (take 5) (V. Feldman-M. Davis) 6:22
3 Summer Night (take 2) (A. Dubin-H. Warren) 6:04

1 Seven Steps to Heaven (take 3)
12" LP: Mosaic MQ10-226
CD: Columbia Legacy C7K 90840, Sony SICP 620/5, Mega Disc Legendary 041617

2 Seven Steps to Heaven (take 5)
12" LP: Mosaic MQ10-226
CD: Columbia Legacy C7K 90840, Sony SICP 620/5, Mega Disc Legendary 041617

3 Summer Night (take 2)
12" LP: Columbia CL 2106 (= CS 8906), Analogue Productions APJ 8851-45, Columbia C5X 45000, Nippon Columbia YS-420, CBS/Sony SONP 50163, CBS/Sony SOPU 84, CBS/Sony 20AP 1407, Mosaic MQ10-226
CD: Columbia Legacy C4K 45000, Columbia Legacy C4K 86569, Columbia CK 65293, Columbia Legacy C7K 90840, Columbia CK 93592, CBS/Sony 32DP 516, Sony SRCS 5703, CBS/Sony 80DP 5430/3, Sony SICP 5037/40, Sony SRCS 9318, Sony SRCS 9734, Sony SIGP 2, Sony SICP 819, Sony SICP 4018, Sony SICJ 30058, Sony SICP 620/5, Columbia Legacy 86975 24922 [= Columbia (F) 86975 52492] (CD 17, 18)

The versions of "Seven Steps to Heaven" recorded during this session were superseded by the more outgoing versions recorded with the Hancock-Carter-Williams rhythm section a month later in New York.

The problems Davis had throughout 1962 with keeping a working group continued into 1963. His quintet was booked at the Philadelphia's Uptown Theatre from December 25, 1962 through January 1, 1963 (Wednesday-Tuesday); in addition to missing one of the sets on December 25, Davis walked out and missed the last two nights (and was later ordered by the musicians' union to pay the promoter $8000). A two-week engagement at Chicago's Sutherland Lounge, January 30-February 10 (Wednesday-Sunday) was followed by the sudden departure of Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers. Davis was forced to cancel an eight-day engagement at Gino's Club in St. Louis, February 15-23 (Friday-Saturday). He was booked for two weeks at the Blackhawk Supper Club in San Francisco, March 5-17 (Tuesday-Sunday), but the opening was delayed for a week while Davis recruited some West Coast players. In addition to Jimmy Cobb, he ended up with Frank Strozier on alto, George Coleman on tenor, Victor Feldman or Harold Mabern on piano, and Ron Carter on bass (at the time Carter was playing with Art Farmer). The sextet played a ten-day gig at Shelly's Manne-Hole in Los Angeles, April 5-14 (Friday-Sunday). Cobb, who was planning to leave the Davis group later in the summer, left in mid-April after a dispute about money. He returned to New York and joined Wes Montogomery in the studio on April 22. Before leaving, he recommended Frank Butler, and the quintet -- Feldman on piano, Butler on drums, and without Strozier -- went into Columbia's Hollywood studios for these sessions. Butler remained in Los Angeles and the rest of the group returned to the East Coast, where they were booked for one night at the Lyric Theatre in Baltimore (May 9; "The Miles Davis Quintette" was listed as Davis, George Coleman, Frank Strozier, Harold Maybern [sic], Jim Cobb. I can't believe that Carter didn't play with the group, so either it was not a "quintette" or else one of the horns, probably Strozier, didn't play).

Davis fired Strozier and Mabern soon afterward, hiring Hancock and Williams; and the new Miles Davis Quintet -- Davis, Coleman, Hancock, Carter, Williams -- went into Columbia's 30th Street Studio on May 14, then hit the road: Bowdoin College, Brunswick ME (May 17 -- listed as the Miles Davis Sestet); Jazz Villa, St. Louis (May 27-June 4); Sutherland Lounge, Chicago (June 5-16); Jazz Temple, Cleveland (June 20-23 -- listed as the Miles Davis Sextet); Village Vanguard, New York (July 2-14).

Much of this material has been issued on The Sessions of Seven Steps (Mega Disc Legendary 041617 and 0514).

I am grateful to Tommaso Urbano, Bill White, and Fernando Ortiz de Urbina for help with this session.

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