Released in a limited edition format for this year’s getting-ever-closer Record Store Day (if you don’t know, it’s April 21st) is an exciting new release from MILES DAVIS. It’s a four-track 45 rpm 12-inch EP devoted to ‘Rubberband,’ a rare track that Miles cut in his first recording session for Warner Bros after quitting Columbia in 1985. The project, originally helmed by Randy Hall and Zane Giles together with Miles was shelved and the trumpeter, then 59, went on to join forces with Marcus Miller and record the groundbreaking ‘Tutu.’
The original version of ‘Rubberband’ – which is present as the final cut on the new EP – was a slice of synth-heavy techno-funk with Miles soloing on top. Recalls Randy Hall: “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.” Zane Giles confirms Miles insistence on breaking away from jazz: “Miles kept saying ‘I don’t wanna do my usual stuff. I wanna do something different.’”
Now, though, the track had been revamped and contemporized by its original producers, Hall and Giles, together with Miles’ nephew, Vince Wilburn Jr (who played drums of the original take) as an R&B-style vocal cut featuring Grammy-nominated singer and Verve recording artists, Ledisi Young. The groove is slower, more organic-sounding, with Ledisi’s vocal intertwining sublimely with Miles’ lyrical muted trumpet. On the EP you’ll find a radio edit, the uncut full-length version, and an instrumental take plus the original iteration from ’85. The album artwork uses one of Miles Davis’ paintings.
Miles Davis’s ‘Rubberband’ EP is released by Rhino/Warner Music Group on April 21st.