Calypso Frelimo Sessions

DiscoCalypso Frelimo Sessions
Original archive name:
Miles Davis - The 'Calypso Frelimo' Sessions

Miles Davis - Session of Calypso Frelimo

Calypso Frelimo Parts 1-4, composed by Miles Davis

Miles Davis - trumpet, organ
Dave Liebman - flute
John Stubblefield - soprano, tenor sax *
Reggie Lucas - guitar
Pete Cosey - guitar
Michael Henderson - electric bass
Al Foster - drums
Mtume - congas, percussion

Produced by Teo Macero

Recorded NYC September 17th 1973

On the issued version, Stubblefield plays only soprano; the tenor sax solo heard here could be either Stubblefield or Liebman, but the former is more likely, for reasons explained below

'Calypso Frelimo', originally released on the double LP 'Get Up With It', and now available as part of the 'Complete On the Corner Sessions' box set, is one of the high points of Miles Davis' first electric period. A very long track (over 32 minutes), it has two slabs of irresistible bubbling groove sandwiching a wedge of ocean-deep dark funk, featuring one of MIles' most impassioned solos on record. It more accurately reflects the ambience of this unique Miles Davis line-up than any other of the (admittedly few) studio recordings of the time.

As with virtually all Miles' studio recordings of the period, the released version is the result of extensive post-production editing by Teo Macero, assembled from a number of different takes. What we present here is the Japanese So What label's 'Session of Calypso Frelimo', which has four separate sections from the original session (there is apparently more, listed by Peter Losin on his Miles Ahead website - One drawback of this version is that the sound quality is rather flat and muddy, in contrast to the pristine sound on the official release; the mix also results in some instruments being pushed to the back at times. As with the 'Session of He Loved Him Madly', we would not recommend that anyone listens to this without first listening to and becoming familiar with the released version.

Having said that, this version is of a lot more than just historical interest, as there is some very interesting material here which never made it onto the official release. For instance, there is an additional soprano sax solo early on, presumably John Stubblefield, and a superb tenor sax solo in the second 'fast' section (I emailed Dave Liebman about that a few years ago - he said he couldn't remember who played it, but thought it was probably Stubblefield). There are also some extended passages featuring the rhythm section which show how naturally the members blend together, subordinating their egos to the collective groove - a great lesson for musicians everywhere.

One thing that this release confirms is what I long suspected: that some of Miles' trumpet soloing was dubbed on afterwards, notably the first solo, and the first solo of the second 'fast' section. I always felt that the other Miles solos had a more 'natural' feel, that he seemed to be interacting more with the band, and my feelings were confirmed by hearing this 'unedited' version.

One unsolved mystery is that towards the end of Miles' second solo, the wah-wah effect appears to vanish, leaving Miles to play what was, for the time, a relatively unusual 'straight' solo; yet by the time the official release came out the wah-wah had been restored to this section! In any case, Miles' wonderful playing here completely gives the lie to the oft-repeated fallacy that his trumpet playing was drastically deteriorating at this time. His playing, and the whole piece, confirm that for the time being, Miles remained not only on top of his game, but right out in front.

Martin Booth