Water Babies (album)

Water Babies
Compilation album by Miles Davis
Released November 1976
Recorded June 7, 13, 23, 1967; November 11–12, 1968
Studio Columbia 30th Street Studio and Columbia Studio B in New York City
Genre Jazz fusion, post-bop
Length 53:05
Label Columbia
Producer Teo Macero
Miles Davis chronology
Water Babies
Dark Magus

Water Babies is a compilation album by American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.[1] It compiled music Davis recorded in studio sessions with his quintet in 1967 and 1968,[2] including outtakes from his 1968 album Nefertiti and recordings that foreshadowed his direction on In a Silent Way (1969),[3] while covering styles such as jazz fusion and post-bop.[4] Water Babies was released by Columbia Records in 1976 after Davis retired.[5]


Released during Miles Davis's retirement in the second half of the seventies, it is a collection of stylistically diverse "leftovers" spanning eighteen months, from the Nefertiti sessions with the Miles Davis Quintet (1967) to the experimental, transitional period between Filles de Kilimanjaro and In a Silent Way (late 1968).

Due to these recordings being released years after they were recorded, the three Wayne Shorter compositions recorded during the 1967 session had made their first appearance in 1969 on Shorter's album Super Nova in a much more free jazz, avant-garde style.

Side 1 features the second great quintet of Davis, Shorter, Hancock, Williams and Carter. On Side 2, Ron Carter is replaced by Dave Holland and Chick Corea doubles with Hancock on electric piano; this line-up is very similar to the one that recorded In a Silent Way minus John McLaughlin and Joe Zawinul, tracks 4 to 6 being from those sessions. Shorter would switch from tenor to soprano saxophone after this session.

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Down Beat[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[8]
Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[3]
The Village VoiceB+[9]

Water Babies was released in November 1976 by Columbia Records.[10] In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said the compiled recordings were not "quite vintage Miles", being particularly critical of "Dual Mr. Anthony Tillmon Williams Process" while finding "the rest is better".[9] Rolling Stone magazine's Bob Blumenthal was more enthusiastic, writing that the record showcased some of the best music by Davis' 1964-68 quintet, who were revealed with the passage of time to be "as daring and fascinating as any in the long Davis career".[11] "Although not an essential set", Scott Yanow wrote in AllMusic, "this album fills in some gaps during Davis's transitional period from adventurous acoustic playing to early electric performances."[2]

Track listing

All songs composed by Wayne Shorter except as noted.

1976 original LP version

Side one
  1. "Water Babies"– 5:06
  2. "Capricorn" – 8:26
  3. "Sweet Pea" – 7:59
Side two
  1. "Two Faced" – 18:00
  2. "Dual Mr. Anthony Tillmon Williams Process" (Miles Davis, Tony Williams) – 13:20

2002 CD reissue

  1. "Water Babies" – 5:06
  2. "Capricorn" – 8:26
  3. "Sweet Pea" – 7:59
  4. "Two Faced" – 18:00
  5. "Dual Mr. Anthony Tillmon Williams Process" (Miles Davis, Tony Williams) – 13:20
  6. "Splash" (Miles Davis) – 10:05


Tracks 1-3

Tracks 4-6


  1. Freeman, Philip (2005). Running the Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 105. ISBN 1-61774-521-9.
  2. 1 2 3 Yanow, Scott (2011). "Water Babies [Bonus Track] - Miles Davis | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  3. 1 2 Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 58. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  4. McCarthy, Harlan (May 4, 2016). "6 Essential Miles Davis Albums". The Riverfront Times. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  5. Santoro, Gene (1995). Dancing in Your Head: Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Beyond. Oxford University Press. p. 169. ISBN 0195101235.
  6. Alkyer, Frank; Enright, Ed; Koransky, Jason, eds. (2007). The Miles Davis Reader. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 272. ISBN 142343076X.
  7. Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). MUZE. p. 210. ISBN 0195313739.
  8. Considine, J. D. (1992). "Miles Davis". In DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly. The Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd ed.). Random House. p. 180. ISBN 0-679-73729-4.
  9. 1 2 Christgau, Robert (September 5, 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  10. "Miles Davis Water Babies". Sony Music Entertainment. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  11. Blumenthal, Bob (April 21, 1977). "Water Babies". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
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