After nagging health issues and an exhausting schedule culminated in Miles collapsing backstage after a St. Louis concert on March 27th, his band canceled its remaining tour with Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters and took a well-deserved break from the road. Rest and recuperation be damned, the respite was a brief one, and the Miles Davis septet resumed its live activity with a six-night run at Paul’s Mall beginning on April 28th. This was a band on a mission, returning to the stage invigorated and intent on continuing its rapid evolution.
As tapes from previous visits to the venue suggest, Miles clearly felt an affinity for Paul’s Mall, treating extended stays at the basement club as a testing ground for new ideas and a prime locale to audition new band members, as saxophonist Sonny Fortune would learn halfway through this 1975 residency. Upon seeing a young sax player named Sam Morrison during the band’s break from the road, Miles invited the Long Islander to sit in with the septet during the final nights of the Paul’s Mall run.
Having watched Morrison from the crowd for an entire set and hearing Miles tell others “I haven’t heard that much fire on the saxophone since ‘Trane was in my band”, Fortune resigned his post the following day. With Morrison’s arrival, the final lineup of Miles’ electric period was chiseled in stone.Continue reading “5.2 + 5.3.1975 Paul’s Mall”