E.S.P. (Miles Davis album)

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E.S.P. cover.jpg
Studio album by Miles Davis
Released August 16, 1965[1]
Recorded 20–22 January 1965
Columbia Studios, Hollywood, LA
Genre Jazz, hard bop,[2] post-bop, modal jazz
Length 48:05
Label Columbia
CL 2350 (Mono)
CS 9150 (Stereo)
Producer Irving Townsend
Miles Davis chronology
Seven Steps to Heaven
Miles Smiles
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 5/5 stars[3]

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.

Track listing[edit]

Columbia – CS 9150[4]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Recording session Length
1. "E.S.P." Wayne Shorter January 20, 1965 5:27
2. "Eighty-One" Ron Carter & Miles Davis January 21, 1965 6:11
3. "Little One" Herbie Hancock January 21, 1965 7:21
4. "R.J." Ron Carter January 20, 1965 3:56
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Recording session Length
1. "Agitation" Miles Davis January 22, 1965 7:46
2. "Iris" Wayne Shorter January 22, 1965 8:29
3. "Mood" Ron Carter & Miles Davis January 22, 1965 8:50
Total length: 48:05




  1. ^ Miles Davis.com
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas E.S.P. review allmusic.com. Retrieved on 2015-11-23.
  3. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 58. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  4. ^ "Miles Davis - E.S.P.". Discogs. Retrieved February 4, 2017.