First album recorded by Davis' second quintet — E.S.P. teams with energy, emotion
Landmark 1965 recording splits divide between accessible hard-bop and cutting-edge improvisation
A landmark recording and masterful symphony of performance, composition, and execution, Miles Davis' E.S.P. established the template jazz would follow for the following decade.
The 1965 record splits the gap between accessible hard-bop and the cutting-edge approach Davis increasingly pursued into the 1970s. Adventurous, sophisticated, and yet altogether cohesive, E.S.P. stands out not only due to its elastic compositions but via its chemistry, interplay, and feeling attained by the instrumentalists.
This meticulously restored audiophile version renders the music's dynamics, pitch, colors, and textures with lifelike realism and proper scale. Reference-caliber separation, wall-to-wall soundstages, and distinct images magnify the intensity and beauty of Davis and Co.'s creations. Whether it's the distinctive snap of Tony Williams' drum sticks against the snare head, air moving through Davis' trumpet, acoustic thrum of Ron Carter's bass, or upper register of Herbie Hancock's piano, the sound is better than you'd even hear in the most intimate jazz clubs. Prepare to be swayed on every level.
For many, E.S.P. looms among the decade's best albums if only because of the significance of Davis' lineup. While Hancock, Williams, and Carter are holdovers that began playing with one another on 1963's Seven Steps to Heaven, Wayne Shorter functions as the secret weapon and key addition responsible for this ensemble hitting a new peak. Indeed, the saxophonist helped pen two of the seven compositions here — notably, E.S.P. is entirely comprised originals and clocked in as one of the longest-running jazz LPs issued at the time — and, more importantly, grants Davis the confidence and leeway necessary for the eruption of enigma, steadiness, and tension.