Click above for a (slightly) larger image
A trending story this weekend brings to light what could have been a pretty super 1969 collaboration between Miles Davis, his phenomenal longtime drummer Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney. Davis and Hendrix had already been jamming together informally in New York, planning to record an album. The pairing seems natural considering this was Davis’ Bitches Brew psychedelic fusion phase.
The inclusion of McCartney’s pop sensibilities seems odd, though, and possibly inspired. It could have resulted in some really fascinating music, or a mess of personalities and ideas. But alas, it never came to pass. Davis and Hendrix sent McCartney an impromptu October 21st, 1969 telegram request to record with them in New York: “We are recording an LP together this weekend. How about coming in to play bass stop call Alan Douglas 212-5812212. Peace Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis Tony Williams.” [Alan Douglass was the ostensible producer.] But, as Rolling Stone explains:
It’s unclear if McCartney was aware of the request…. Beatles aide Peter Brown responded the next day, telling Hendrix and Davis that McCartney was out on vacation and wasn’t expected back for two weeks.
Unfortunately, the only reproductions of the correspondence available online are the poorly visible images at the top and below. Nonetheless, you can make out Davis, Hendrix, and Williams’ request on the right, and the response at the left (the order is reversed below). Both telegrams are located at the Hard Rock Café in Prague. For more on the story, read the Telegraph’s summation. I’m sure it won’t be long before some enterprising music hacker creates the ultimate Davis/Hendrix/McCartney mashup and gives us a taste of what might have been.
Click to (slightly) enlarge
Rare Miles Davis Live Recordings Capture the Jazz Musician at the Height of His Powers
Previously Unreleased Jimi Hendrix Recording, “Somewhere,” with Buddy Miles and Stephen Stills
Paul McCartney Shoots New Music Video with Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp
Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him @jdmagness
What a shame that Hendrix/Miles record never came about, no matter who would be on bass.
wow never know this and what a super group this would have been
things that might have been are sometimes better off being as might have been
Look up Betty Davis (and listen to her music, for a rarely heard treat).
The inclusion of Paul McCartney should not be considered “odd” at all. McCartney was the last remaining bachelor Beatle, and after his bandmates moved to the suburbs, he was still living in London, hitting up nightclubs AND the music conservatory, digging all kinds of music and getting weird. He got into 20th century composition, and brought what he heard back to The Beatles. He learned how to make tape loops, then went back to the studio and taught the other Beatles. He was one of Hendrix’s earliest music industry champions after Hendrix came to London! He’d caught Hendrix playing in a night club and showed up at the recording studio raving about him the next morning. Oh, and not only was the “Sgt. Pepper’s” LP his brainchild, but he played the guitar solo on “Taxman,” too (reportedly in one take). McCartney was, like, an ADVANCED dude. That said, he was, at the time of this telegram, incredibly stubborn, a total taskmaster in the studio, and, by many accounts, a very difficult person to “collaborate” with. Can you imagine the sparks flying in the studio between a guy like 1969 Paul McCartney and 1969 Miles Davis??
Is there any recordings of a Hendrix/davis album? I can’t stop thinking about how good this group would’ve been.
good points brian, all the way around , and i largely agree…for me , though , this tells us how highly respected mccartney is ( or , for hendrix, was ) for his bass playing. We often think of him for his beatle magic, songwriting , melody writing , vocal range , but the fact remains is that his abilities on bass is not surpassed by many, or any , in rock and pop ….the boy can play that four string ….lol
yes, Miles would have probably killed him and they would have to make a third (or forth) Faul. maybe in a parallel universe.
Macca and Jimi. Doesnt Work…
did Hendrix or Williams or Miles end up using the studio time for anything?
I don’t know about Hendrix sessions, but Miles is not known to have returned to the studio in november for the Big Fun Sessions
he was also shot by a Gangster in October right?
there might be some rough home demo type recordings recorded at each others houses but they never made it to the studio unfortunately as they couldn’t agree about money
Jimi asked Miles for advice on Jazz guys to play with
so Miles suggested John Maclaughlin, Dave Holland, Larry Young
sadly the pick up on John Maclaughlins guitar was faulty and the recording was unreleasable except for bootlegs
the stuff with Larry Young was released though
wooah check out the snotty response from Macca’s spokesman at the bottom
what a moron
*until in november typo