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Miles Davis Bounces Back with Rubberband

Don’t be blue: American jazz trumpet player Miles Davis sits at a table in a Nice’s restaurant after performing at the Grand Parade Jazz Festival 18 July 1985

Jazz legend, Miles Davis’ lost Rubberband Sessions arrives three decades later after newly recorded vocals from Grammy-nominated vocalist Ledisi. The 12” vinyl 4-track Extended-play has been released under the Warner Music Group/Rhino label on Record Store Day 2018 (21 April).

If the career-defining A Kind of blue, was the best jazz album ever made Davis’ posthumous effort is bound to get jazz historians scrambling for the archives to make an addendum. In 1985, Davis shocked the music world by moving from Columbia Records to Warner Bros. Records and started recording Rubberband because he was bored of doing “his usual stuff”.

Vibrant: Cover artwork of the Extended-play release is a painting by Miles Davis who also expressed himself on the canvas

The album marked a radical departure for him, with funk and soul grooves and was to include vocals by Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan.  Produced by Davis, Randy Hall and Zane Giles, the line-up boasted Davis on trumpet and keyboards, keyboardists Adam Holzman, Neil Larsen and Wayne Linsey, percussionist Steve Reid, saxophonist Glen Burris and Davis’s nephew Vince Wilburn Jr., on drums. Engineered by Reggie Dozier (brother of Lamont Dozier, part of the legendary Motown songwriting team), the Rubberband sessions took place at Ameraycan Studios in Los Angeles from October 1985 to January 1986. But the album was subsequently shelved and Davis went on to record Tutu.

I don’t wanna do my usual stuff. I wanna do something different.MILES DAVIS

“It was fat grooves, really funky, Miles talking. It was street and funky and dirty. We didn’t go after writing a great jazz song, Miles wanted the street thing; he wanted the chord changes he wanted to play. The basis was to take it to the street like On The Corner, it was Miles taking more chances,” said Hall.  Giles added, “Miles kept saying ‘I don’t wanna do my usual stuff. I wanna do something different.’”

Thirty-two years after Rubberband was recorded, the original producers, Hall and Giles, teamed up with Davis’ nephew, Vince Wilburn, Jr., to finish and update the title track.  In September 2017, they invited the 12-time Grammy-nominee soulful singer Ledisi, appearing courtesy of Verve Label Group, to guest on vocals at the Village Studios in Los Angeles.  The sessions was co-produced by Anthony “Mac Nass” Loffman and Arthur Haynes for SmashSound Syndicate.

 

  • Listen to Rubberband [original version/6:30]

The cover artwork is a painting by Davis. Side A features Rubberband of life [Radio Edit/4:20] and Rubberband of Life featuring [5:43]. On the flip side are Rubberband of life [instrumental/5:39] and Rubberband [original version/6:30].

Record Store Day 

Record Store Day takes place annually when over 200 independent record shops across the UK come together to celebrate everything vinyl. Special vinyl releases are made exclusively for the day and many shops and cities host artist performances and events to mark the occasion. Thousands more shops celebrate the day around the globe in what has become one of the biggest annual events on the music calendar.

Although there is only one Record Store Day a year, the organisers work throughout the year to promote independent record stores by spotlighting exclusive releases, events and special news.

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Let’s dance: British pop rock singer David Bowie in concert at Earl’s Court, London during his 1978 world tour

David Bowie: Let’s Dance (Demo) – Originally released online to mark the second anniversary of Bowie’s death, this demo was recorded in Bowie’s Swiss home in 1982. Other Bowie releases for Record Store Day include a new version of 1977 compilation Bowie Now and a three-disc recording of the star’s Earl’s Court shows in 1978.

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