Miles Davis: E.S.P.

Miles Davis: E.S.P.

This is the last time that Frances appeared on the cover of a Miles Davis album.
Everything was going wrong with the couple, and they painfully separated at the end of
1965. In terms of music, however, things couldn’t have been better. Since Wayne
Shorter’s arrival, the five members of the quintet seemed to communicate by mental
telepathy, inspiring the title E.S.P. (extra sensory perception). Miles had been staying
away from the studios to avoid running into Teo Macero since their quarrel following
the release of Quiet Nights, but suddenly he returned to the studio in Los Angeles,
far away from Teo. The trumpeter signed two pieces, one a devilishly funky blues,
“Eighty-One,” (actually written by Ron Carter, but probably shaped in the studio by
Miles) on which binary and tertiary rhythms alternated (listen to the improvisations,
and you’ll understand). The other, the melodic abstraction “Agitation” that until 1969 was
often used to open concerts, illustrated how the modal options of “So What” and “Flamenco
Sketches” found a new outlet—six years after Kind Of Blue. But the return to the
inspiration of the 1959 masterpieces was mainly due to the compositions of his young
companions who were responsible for writing six of the seven tunes on the album.
Original issue: Columbia LP CS 9150
on August 16, 1965
Producer: Irving Townsend
Engineer: Unknown
Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ts);
Herbie Hancock (p); Ron Carter (b);
Tony Williams (d)
January 20, (tracks 1, 4);
January 21 (tracks 2, 3);
January 22 (tracks 5, 6, 7) 1965
Columbia Studios, Los Angeles

1 E.S.P.
2 Eighty-One
3 Little One
4 R.J.
5 Agitation
6 Iris
7 Mood

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