Miles Davis shocked the music world in 1985 when he left Columbia Records after thirty years to join Warner Bros. Records. In October of that year, he began recording the album Rubberband in L.A. at Ameraycan Studios with producers Randy Hall and Zane Giles. The musical direction Miles was taking during the sessions marked a radical departure, with the inclusion of funk and soul grooves; with plans to feature guest vocalists Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan. Eventually, the album was shelved and Miles went on to record Tutu, leaving the Rubberband songs unheard and untouched for over 30 years. Miles Davis’ fans finally got a taste of the iconic trumpeter’s long-lost album last year with the release of a four-song Rubberband EP for Record Store Day, which is also available digitally. Now Rhino is excited to announce that the entire 11-song Rubberband album made its debut on September 6 on CD, digitally, and as a 180-gram 2-LP set. It was finished by the original producers Hall and Giles; with Davis’ nephew, Vince Wilburn, Jr., who played drums on the original sessions for the album in 1985-86. The cover art for the album is a Davis original painting from the time.
In 2017 – 32 years after Davis started recording Rubberband– Hall, Giles, and Davis’ nephew, Wilburn, Jr., began work to finish the album. The final version includes several guest artists including singers Ledisi (a 12-time Grammy nominee) and Lalah Hathaway (daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway). Miles Davis – who plays both trumpet and keyboards on the album – was joined in the studio by keyboardists Adam Holzman, Neil Larsen and Wayne Linsey; percussionist Steve Reid; saxophonist Glen Burris; and Wilburn, Jr. on drums. The sessions were engineered by Grammy®-winner Reggie Dozier, whose brother Lamont Dozier was part of the legendary Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland.
I had the honor of catching up with Miles Davis’ nephew, Vince Wilburn Jr. to talk about the path this new album has taken from the earlier sessions to it finally being released in September. We get deep into how his uncle was not one to stand still too long in the same sounds and how evolution was always something he would strive towards. I have to tell you it was thrilling to hear about some of the ins and outs of Miles Davis from Vince, a person that spent a lot of personal time with and creating music time with the “Chief”. We also find out why Vince would suggest to anyone who wants to know more about the real story of Miles to check out Stanley Nelson‘s new documentary “Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool“. And you don’t think Vince is just sitting round relishing in the fact he has this legend of an Uncle – we find out what other things are going in his musical world and how the music of Miles Davis, still keeps on evolving as others take knowledgeable visions and breath life into them.