Here's The True Story Of When Prince Met Miles Davis
It has been a tough month without the Purple One, as Prince has left an indelible hole in our hearts. Yet, from his passing have come some pretty intriguing stories. One in particular features the Kid performing alongside the jazz legend, Miles Davis. In fact, we were blessed to actually hear some excerpts from a live performance the two did at Paisley Park (which will never make its way to the public).
The unveiling of Prince x Miles working together was awe-inspiring since it was no secret that the two were fans of one another. Uncut Magazine was also hip on the game, as they spoke with Eric Leeds about the collaboration for its Prince tribute issue. Available now, Uncut spoke with Leeds, who played saxophone with Prince from 1984 up to 2003, about the real deal when Prince met Miles.
Below, are Eric’s recollections in full:
Were you there when Prince jammed with Miles Davis?
“I’ve got to tell you, I kind of was the midwife in that. Not that they wouldn’t have got together anyway, because I already was aware of Miles’ interest in Prince’s music. Prince was into quite a bit of Miles’ music also. I think they saw a lot of each other in their music. When I realized that Prince was reaching out to Miles to maybe do something, I made damn well sure I was going to be somewhere when that happened!
“The actual reality is that Prince and Miles were never in a recording studio together. That never happened. We did a track for Miles, for possible inclusion on what would have been Miles’ first Warner Bros album, Tutu. Prince decided that he didn’t think it was appropriate to be included on that album. He asked Miles not to include it and Miles agreed. Miles did overdub trumpet to it, but he did it on his own; Prince was nowhere around him when that happened. Finally, when we listened to that track, Prince came to me and Matt Blistan [trumpet] and asked my opinion of it. If Prince was going to ask me that, that meant Prince was not 100% sure it was that great. I agreed with him. I said, ‘If you’re going to do something with Miles, this shouldn’t be it.’ And he agreed.
“So we did a concert at Paisley Park. It was a New Year’s Eve, 1987. It was an invitation only performance. Miles was a guest and came on stage with us and played with us on one of the songs. To my recollection and to the best of my knowledge that is the only time Miles and Prince were in a space together performing. They became friendly and certainly stayed in communication with each other.
“Several years later, Miles asked Prince to produce some other tracks for him on a subsequent album. Prince was at that point extremely busy doing other things and was just not able to do that. Prince actually came to me and asked me to do a couple of tracks for Miles. I told Prince, I said, ‘Prince, Miles isn’t asking me to do a couple of tracks with him! He wants to go in the studio with you!’ He said, ‘I know! I just can’t see me doing that right now.’ I said, ‘Look, I’ll be more than happy to go in the studio and cut some tracks’ – which I ended up doing, but I have no idea whether those tracks were sent to Miles or whether he ever heard them. I really have no idea what happened to them. Obviously, I was very complimented! I had come to know Miles a bit, which was something of a dream come true.”
You can read the story in full when Uncut releases the 15-page special on Prince. Elsewhere in the book, Susan Rogers, who engineered Prince’s albums from the ’80s; sound man Rob “Cubby” Colby and Karen Krattinger, the general manager at Prince’s Paisley Park compound are profiled in the latest issue, which is on sale now. You can buy the magazine digitally by clicking here.