| August 16, 1965|
16 August 1965
| 20–22 January 1965
Columbia Studios, Hollywood, LA|
Jazz, Hard bop, Modal jazz, Post-bop
Miles Davis albums, Modal jazz albums, Other albums
Recorded in January 1965, E.S.P. is the first album by what is often referred to as Miles Davis's second great quintet. The quintet comprising Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams would be the longest-lived of all Davis's groups.
Unlike the majority of previous Davis albums, E.S.P. consisted entirely of new compositions written by members of the group. Despite the profusion of new material, only two of the tunes, "Agitation" and "R.J." are known to have appeared in the group's live performances, the latter only appearing in one extant recording. "Agitation", by contrast, was still being performed as late as the fall of 1969.
"Little One" might be best known for being revisited on Hancock's landmark album, Maiden Voyage, recorded a few weeks later. This version is somewhat more embryonic; Carter's bass is halting, and Davis and Shorter state the theme with winding, interlocking contrapuntal lines that evoke Davis and Coltrane's version of "Round Midnight". Hancock's solo on Carter's composition, "Eighty-One", also presages his work on that LP - particularly its title track. This is reflected in the liner notes of the 1999 reissue.
Shortly thereafter, Shorter's compositions would begin to dominate the Quintet's recordings, though here he contributes only two of the seven songs. The title track is reminiscent of Jackie McLean's "Little Melonae", which Davis had recorded with John Coltrane in 1956. "Iris", by contrast, is another Coltrane-like ballad, not too dissimilar to "Infant Eyes" on Shorter's Speak No Evil album.
Ron Carter's piece "R.J." was also recorded by Joe Henderson on Tetragon in 1968, and in 1981 Wynton Marsalis would record it with Hancock, Carter and Williams for his first album. Carter's 1970 album Uptown Conversation (with Hancock) also included versions of "R.J." and "Mood," the latter of which was retitled "Doom."
At over forty-eight minutes, E.S.P. is one of the longest jazz albums of its period. Subsequent Davis recordings would be even longer.
Columbia – CS 9150Miles Davis - Trumpet
Wayne Shorter - Tenor Saxophone
Herbie Hancock - Piano
Ron Carter - Double Bass
Tony Williams - Drums
Record producer - Irving Townsend
Cover Photography - Bob Cato
1ESP5:32E.S.P. (Miles Davis album) Wikipedia