Can I Play With U? is an unreleased song recorded on 26 December 1985 (the same day as A Couple Of Miles, two days before Slaughterhouse, U Just Can’t Stop, Run Amok, Mobile, Madrid, Breathless, High Calonic and 12 Keys) at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California, with saxophone overdubs by Eric Leeds on 27 December 1985.
The track was sent to Miles Davis (in both instrumental and vocal versions) in January 1986, following a request from Warner Bros. for Prince to contribute to Davis' first Warner Bros. album (called The Perfect Way at the time, before being renamed Tutu). It was accompanied by a note from Prince, reading:
"Miles, even though we have never met, I can tell just from listening to your music that you and I are so exactly alike that I know whatever you play would be what I'd do. So if this tape is of any use to you, please go ahead and play whatever you feel over it. Because I trust what you hear and play."
Miles Davis added trumpet to the song on 1 March 1986 at Capitol Recording Studio, Los Angeles CA, USA.
Prince contributed additional material to the track to extend it in 1986, but neither Davis nor Prince were very excited by the final result, and after hearing the rest of the finished album, Prince asked that his track be removed, as it didn’t fit in with the style of the rest of the album.
After Davis died in 1991, Warner Bros. asked Prince to add some post-production to this track (as well as Penetration, Jail Bait and A Girl And Her Puppy) to include on his first posthumous album, Doo-Bop, but Prince was not interested in contributing to tracks that he felt didn’t show Davis at his best.
During a Love4oneanother.com "? of the week" in 1999, a fan (using the name Øster) asked whether Prince had recorded in the studio with Miles Davis, to which Prince replied:
- " have recorded with Miles... it sounds as u would xpect: chaotic and beautiful! Its release depends on the length of The War [referring to feuds with record companies rather than the track The War]."
The longer version of the track was planned for release (credited to "Miles Davis with Prince") as the twelfth track on a 2001 box-set of Miles Davis’s Warner Bros. work, entitled The Last Word, but the track was not included on the eventual 2-disc 2010 release, titled Perfect Way.
Can I Play With U? remains unreleased.