Big Fun, released in 1974 with a cover by Corky McCoy, the same illustrator who designed On The Corner, creates a relatively confused sense of chronology. It is, in fact, a collection of unreleased tracks with highly contrasting aesthetics, recorded between 1969 and 1972, which nonetheless presents a rather coherent overview of this period. “Great Expectations”—which flows after about fourteen minutes into Joe Zawinul’s “Orange Lady” (November 1969) and “Lonely Fire” (January 1970)—returned to the repetitive principle experimented with in 1967 on “Nefertiti”: incremental sound and rhythmic variations inspired by the pastoral vein that Zawinul cherished. The additional sitar and tablas created an “Indian room” ambiance, which would appear more discretely three years later amid the new electronic sonorities of “Ife” (June 1972), taken from the On The Corner sessions. The bass ostinato of this piece, still, paradoxically, in the pop music style, contrasted with John McLaughlin’s raging syncopations on “Go Ahead John” (March 1970) that reflected the shift towards funk begun by Miles during the Jack Johnson sessions.

Original issue: Columbia LP C 32866 on April 19, 1974

Producer: Teo Macero
Engineers: Frank Laico, Stan Tonkel
November 19, 1969 (a)
Miles Davis (tpt); Steve Grossman (ss); Bennie Maupin (bcl); John McLaughlin (el-g); Khalil Balakrishna (el-sitar); Herbie Hancock (el-p); Chick Corea (el-p); Bihari Sharma (tamboura); Ron Carter (b); Harvey Brooks (el-b); Billy Cobham (d); Airto Moreira (perc)

November 28, 1969 (b)
Miles Davis (tpt); Steve Grossman (ss); Bennie Maupin (bcl); John McLaughlin (el-g); Khalil Balakrishna (el-sitar); Larry Young (org, celeste); Herbie Hancock (el-p); Chick Corea (el-p); Bihari Sharma (tamboura); Harvey Brooks (el-b); Dave Holland (b); Billy Cobham (d); Jack DeJohnette (d); Airto Moreira (perc)

February 6, 1970 (c)
Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss); Bennie Maupin (bcl); John McLaughlin (el-g); Joe Zawinul (el-p); Chick Corea (el-p); Dave Holland (el-b); Jack DeJohnette (d); Billy Cobham (perc); Airto Moreira (perc)

March 3, 1970 (d)
Miles Davis (tpt); Steve Grossman (ss); John McLaughlin (el-g); Dave Holland (b); Jack DeJohnette (d)

June 12, 1972 (e)
Miles Davis (tpt); Sonny Fortune (ss, fl); Carlos Garnett (ss); Bennie Maupin (cl, fl); Lonnie Liston Smith (p); Harold I. Williams (p); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); Billy Hart (d); Mtume (perc); Badal Roy (tabla)

All tracks recorded at Columbia Studio E, NYC, except CD 1, track 3 recorded at Columbia Studio B, NYC



  1. Great Expectations [a]
  2. Ife [b]
  3. Recollections* [c]
  4. Trevere* [d]



  1. Go Ahead John [a]
  2. Lonely Fire [b]
  3. The Little Blue Frog* [c]
  4. Yaplet* [d]

* Not on original LP