Sorcerer (Miles Davis album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 23, 1967[1]
RecordedMay 16–24, 1967; August 21, 1962 (track 7)
Studio30th Street (New York)
ProducerTeo Macero
Miles Davis chronology
Miles Smiles
Professional ratings
Review scores
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[5]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings[8]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[7]
Tom Hull – on the WebA−[9]

Sorcerer is an album by the jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis. It is the third of six albums that his 1960s quintet recorded. It also includes one track from a 1962 session with vocalist Bob Dorough, which was the first time Wayne Shorter recorded with Davis. Davis does not play on the second track, "Pee Wee".[10] The album's cover is a profile photo of actress Cicely Tyson, who at the time was Davis's girlfriend (and later his wife).


The only tune from the album known to have appeared in Davis's live performances is "Masqualero", written by Wayne Shorter. Davis's groups performed it as part of the concerts documented on Live in Europe 1967, Live in Europe 1969, Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time, and Black Beauty (recorded in April 1970). The tune is also featured on Chick Corea's Piano Improvisations Vol. 2 (recorded in 1971), and was revived by Wayne Shorter nearly thirty years later, appearing on Footprints Live! (recorded in 2001), featuring his acoustic quartet.

The CD reissue includes alternate takes of "Masqualero" and "Limbo". The alternate take of "Limbo" was recorded in Los Angeles on May 9, several days before the final take was recorded in New York City. This take also replaces Ron Carter with bassist Buster Williams. Both versions of "Masqualero" were recorded on the same date and with the same personnel.

Critical reception[edit]

Sorcerer has been acclaimed by critics. Reviewing in January 1968 for DownBeat, Bill Quinn observed a transition from the "big old fat old lazy melodies" of Davis' traditional bop past toward an "extraordinarily sophisticated route to expression" defined more by inflection, nuance, and "quality of the mood". He credited Davis with "unselfishly [taking] advantage of the writing talent in his crew" and being "right on top of the times with superbly disciplined chaos".[4] Robert Christgau considered it among the "great work" Davis recorded with his quintet of the 1960s,[11] although he would later say that "the late-'60[s] Wayne Shorter edition of Miles's band is my least favorite Miles—not that I think it's bad, but I've always found Shorter too cool."[12] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic also acknowledged that "it's a little elusive" and "rarely blows hot", representing a period of transition yet still "a layered, intriguing work".[3]

Track listing[edit]

Columbia – CS 9532[13]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording session[1]Length
1."Prince of Darkness"Wayne ShorterMay 24, 19676:37
2."Pee Wee"Tony WilliamsMay 24, 19674:49
3."Masqualero"Wayne ShorterMay 17, 19678:53
4."The Sorcerer"Herbie HancockMay 17, 19675:10
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording session[1]Length
1."Limbo"Wayne ShorterMay 16, 19677:13
2."Vonetta"Wayne ShorterMay 16, 19675:36
3."Nothing Like You"Bob Dorough, Fran LandesmanAugust 21, 19621:55
Total length:40:03


The lineup differs greatly on the track "Nothing Like You", since it was recorded several years prior:


  1. ^ a b c "Sorcerer – Miles Davis". Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  2. ^ Bailey, C. Michael (April 11, 2008). "Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, and the Invention of Post Bop". All About Jazz. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "Sorcerer – Miles Davis | AllMusic". Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b Quinn, Bill; et al. (2007). Alkyer, Frank; Enright, Ed; Koransky, Jason (eds.). The Miles Davis Reader. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 244–6. ISBN 1617745707. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  6. ^ Campbell, Hernan M. (June 17, 2012). "Miles Davis – Sorcerer". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  7. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 58. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  8. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 346. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  9. ^ Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Grade List: Miles Davis". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  10. ^ Jack Chambers (1998). Milestones: The Music And Times Of Miles Davis. Da Capo Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0306808494.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 5, 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved September 23, 2022 – via
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (August 21, 2018). "Xgau Sez". Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  13. ^ "Miles Davis – Sorcerer". Discogs. Retrieved February 4, 2017.

External links[edit]