Tomorrow, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings premiere Miles Davis' What It Is: Montreal 7/7/83 on vinyl as part of the Record Store Day Drop 2 event. While a significant release in its own right, What It Is serves as a preview to the just-announced next volume of the late jazz great's Bootleg Series. On September 16, That's What Happened 1982-1985 will arrive in stores as Davis' seventh Bootleg volume.
The 3-CD box set (also available digitally) focuses on Davis' final years at the Columbia label with which he had been associated since 1955 and on the three albums that closed out his 30-year run: Star People (1983), Decoy (1984), and You're Under Arrest (1985).
Disc One focuses on the studio sessions that yielded Star People. It was Davis' second album back at Columbia after a six-year hiatus from recording and performing; it was preceded by 1981's The Man with the Horn. (That was, in fact, his first studio album since 1972's On the Corner.) Star People would be Davis' final studio collaboration with Teo Macero, his producer since 1960's Sketches of Spain. Davis and Macero welcomed musicians J.J. Johnson (trombone), "the other" Bill Evans (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone), Mike Stern (guitar), John Scofield (guitar), Marcus Miller (electric bass), Al Foster (drums), and Mino Cinélu (percussion) with Miles on trumpet and keyboards (without overdubs). Disc One also includes two cuts from the Decoy sessions helmed by Davis and featuring Scofield, Cinélu, Darryl Jones (bass), and Robert Irving III (Linn Drum programming). These two songs recorded on June 30, 1983 at A&R Studios in New York have been sourced from a cassette housed in Scofield's personal archive.
The second disc draws on the You're Under Arrest sessions. Davis and Irving III produced the album which notably transformed Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" (written by John Bettis and Steve Porcaro) and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" (penned with Rob Hyman) into late-period standards while also addressing hot-button social issues close to Davis' heart including racism, ecology, and war. You're Under Arrest was also the first Davis album since On the Corner to feature guitarist John McLaughlin. Other musicians included the returning Scofield, Irving, and Jones, plus Bob Berg (soprano saxophone), Al Foster (drums), Miles' nephew Vince Wilburn, Jr. (drums, drum programming, percussion), and Steve Thornton (percussion). These previously unreleased outtakes, including alternate versions of "Human Nature" and "Time After Time" as well as a cover of another contemporary pop hit, Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It," were newly mixed by Steve Berkowitz and Dave Darlington in 2022 at Bass Hit Recording, NYC.
The third and final CD echoes the contents of the Record Store Day release What It Is: Montreal 7/7/83. The nine-song live show, filled with the sounds of contemporary jazz, funk, pop, and R&B, boasts Davis on trumpet and synthesizer backed by John Scofield, Darryl Jones, Bill Evans, Al Foster, and Mino Cinélu at the Theatre St-Denis during the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal in July 1983.
That's What Happened 1982-1985: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7 was produced by team of Steve Berkowitz, Michael Cuscuna, and Richard Seidel and mastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios. The collection is housed in a slipcase with individual album mini-sleeves and a booklet featuring liner notes by Marcus J. Moore and the late Greg Tate as well as new interviews with Davis' musical collaborators Vince Wilburn, Jr., John Scofield, Darryl Jones, Marcus Miller, and Mike Stern (guitarist).
Along with the 3-CD edition, a 2-LP white vinyl release will collect highlights of the studio outtakes. Also tying into the release will be three reissues from the Get On Down label. The Man with the Horn will arrive on clear vinyl on July 29. We Want Miles follows on opaque yellow vinyl on August 12; Decoy on clear vinyl on August 29; and You're Under Arrest on clear vinyl on September 16. These four reissues were remastered from the original analog tapes by Mark Wilder and overseen by Steve Berkowitz. Vinyl Me, Please will reissue Star People as 2-LP vinyl set as part of the subscription service's Classics line. It, too, was remastered by Wilder and supervised by Berkowitz.
Miles Davis' That's What Happened 1982-1985: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7, his first Bootleg volume in four years, is due on September 16 from Columbia/Legacy. Davis' rendition of "What's Love Got to Do with It" is streaming now at YouTube and other streaming services. You'll find pre-order links and the track listing below.
Miles Davis, That's What Happened 1982-1985: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7 (Columbia/Legacy, 2022)
3CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2LP Highlights: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
CD 1: Star People, Decoy sessions
- Minor Ninths, Part 1
- Minor Ninths, Part 2
- Celestial Blues, Part 1
- Celestial Blues, Part 2
- Celestial Blues, Part 3
- Remake of OBX Ballad
- Remake of OBX Ballad Sessions
- Freaky Deaky, Part 1
- Freaky Deaky, Part 2
CD 2: You're Under Arrest sessions
- Time After Time (Alternate)
- Time After Time (Full Session)
- Theme From Jack Johnson (Right Off) / Intro
- Never Loved Like This (Studio Session Demo)
- Hopscotch (Slow)
- Hopscotch (Fast)
- What's Love Got To Do With It
- Human Nature (Alternate)
- Katia (Full session)
CD 3: Live in Montreal 7/7/83
- Speak (That's What Happened)
- Star People
- What It Is
- It Gets Better
- Star On Cicely
- Code 3
- Creepin' In
All tracks previously unreleased
Brian Stanley says
Looking forward to this. I’ll admit this period is nowhere near great Miles, but I was surprised Columbia didn’t gather the original albums from this period into a steelbook box set like they did with every other era to at least represent all of his recordings for the label.