Before wrapping the Spring ’73 tour and trimming his 10-piece working group to a tidy septet, Miles brought his ensemble to Los Angeles for a pair of compulsory industry gigs – a brief set taped for ABC’s In Concert television series, and this appearance at Columbia Records’ A Week to Remember all-star event hosted by label head, Clive Davis.
“There were 21 acts altogether. Clad in a white suit and white patent leather shoes, Clive mixed and matched, Bruce Springsteen with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Loudon Wainwright with Miles Davis, and so forth. In R&B, he presented Earth, Wind and Fire, Billy Paul, and the Staple Singers; in country, Lynn Anderson and Charlie Rich; in classical music, Anthony Newman. Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor were the emcees. Clive had the concerts filmed so that highlights could be shown at CBS Records’ sales convention in July.”Account from “Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business” by Frederic Dannen
Though the whole affair was well documented, including a few iconic photos of the Miles and the short-lived ensemble, all that circulates is a 5-minute edit from this rare VHS promo. Open the archive already, Sony.
Until a more complete document surfaces, this deceptively serene clip capturing the transition from “Tune in 5” into “Zimbabwe” is our final word from Miles’ largest and most under-documented electric ensemble. Following gigs at Cornell University (May 4) and Detroit (June 9), Miles would relieve Badal Roy and Khalil Balakrishna on tabla and electric sitar, and take over organ duties himself as Lonnie Liston Smith left the band to begin his journey with the Cosmic Echoes. With the beginning of a Japanese tour in mid-June, Miles’ next great working group was in place.
Complete set (not in circulation)
1. Introduction (Clive Davis and Bill Cosby) (1:51)
2. Turnaroundphrase (10:11)
3. Tune in 5 (7:18)
4. Zimbabwe (4:27)
5. Right Off (8:25)
6. Tune in 5 (8:02)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Dave Liebman (soprano, tenor, flute)
Pete Cosey (guitar, percussion)
Reggie Lucas (guitar)
Khalil Balakrishna (electric sitar)*
Lonnie Liston Smith (organ)*
Michael Henderson (electric bass)
Al Foster (drums)
Mtume (conga, percussion)
Badal Roy (tabla)*
*Final recorded performance with Miles