Initially recorded in 1985, Rubberband was meant to be Davis’ first album with his then-new label Warner Bros. Records. Recorded at Ameraycan Studios with producers Randy Hall and Zane Giles, the songs marked a clear sonic pivot for Davis, with a stronger emphasis on soul and funk textures. Davis eventually sidelined the record and turned his attention to Tutu, leaving the album unheard and almost forgotten.
More than 30 years later, Hall and Giles revived and finished Rubberband alongside Davis’ nephew Vince Wilburn Jr., who also played drums during the original sessions. Listeners got a small taste of the record last year with the four-song Rubberband EP released on Record Store Day. More recently, the effort was previewed with the singles “Paradise”, “So Emotional”, and “Give It Up”. Today, the full thing arrives via Rhino.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Wilburn explained,
“What people may not know is Uncle Miles was digging MTV during the Eighties. When he saw a group he dug, he turned up the volume, then called the artist’s label to send music over… He dug the sound of the Eighties and he used that vibe for the Rubberband sessions.”
While posthumous releases can be tricky waters to navigate, Wilburn feels confident Davis “would have loved” Rubberband. “I think he would have been proud of the evolution,” he went on. “We tried to keep it in the vein of the Eighties, sprinkling in spices and rhythms, while keeping Miles’ stamp on it. He was all about evolution. I think he would have dug the progression of the music.”
A special limited edition double-LP bundle of the album including a 7-inch single of “Paradise” is available through the Rhino store. Davis himself created the painting used as Rubberband’s cover, which you can see below.
Miles Davis’s Rubberband Artwork:
Miles Davis’s Rubberband Tracklist:
01. Rubberband Of Life (feat. Ledisi)
02. This Is It
04. So Emotional (feat. Lalah Hathaway)
05. Give It Up
07. Carnival Time
08. I Love What We Make Together (feat. Randy Hall)
09. See I See
10. Echoes In Time/The Wrinkle