Producer Bob Belden has turned reinventing the music of Miles Davis into a cottage industry, taking Davis to India for 2008’s Miles from India, and more recently Belden has given us Asiento, which re-imagined Bitches Brew as a slice of electronica. Now he gives us Miles Español, which finds Belden pairing veterans of Davis' various bands with musicians from Spain, Morocco, and Latin America on classic tracks from Davis' Sketches of Spain and Kind of Blue albums. Hearing Davis compositions with oud, bassoon, accordion, and bongos is certainly exotic and interesting, but one longs for the elegant, stately grace of the original albums.
Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of "So What." From that moment on, the record never really changes pace – each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It's the pinnacle of modal jazz – tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality. All of this doesn't quite explain why seasoned jazz fans return to this record even after they've memorized every nuance.
SKETCHES OF SPAIN by Miles Davis: Each of Miles' four orchestral album collaborations with arranger-composer Gil Evans - Miles Ahead (1957), Porgy And Bess (1958), Sketches Of Spain (1959), and Quiet Nights (1962) - was a masterwork in its own right. Sketches was Miles' first post-Kind Of Blue project, and retains that LP's modal feel on the 16-minute version of Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez,' the inspiration for Davis and Evans. Liner notes for the 2009 edition of SKETCHES are written by composer academician Gunther Schuller, whose hundreds of accomplishments in jazz include playing French horn for Miles on the 1949-50 Birth Of The Cool sessions. SKETCHES was recorded in 1959 and released in 1960.
This historic edition presents the original album augmented by alternate and extra tracks, illustrating how this synergy developed. "The Maids of Cádiz" (from the 1957 album Miles Ahead) is the first example of Gil Evans adapting a composition of Spanish origin for an orchestral collaboration with Miles. The live performance of "Concierto de Aranjuez," the only such ever given, took place in Carnegie Hall in 1961, offering a rare, heightened performance of this centerpiece. "Teo," (from the 1961 album Someday My Prince Will Come) a small group piece dedicated to Producer Teo Macero, is simpatico with "Solea"–the other jewel from the original album, with its orchestral palette that is, in a word, sublime.
The explosive transformation of Miles Davis’ “second great Quintet” with Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums) is laid bare on this release. Culled from original state-owned television and radio sources in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden, the program spans five northern European festival performances over the course of nine days in October-November 1967. The audio shows consist entirely of previously unreleased or previously only bootlegged material. This is a 3-CD + DVD package, with an 8-panel digipak with 28-page booklet.
Massive electric Miles from the same Japanese tour that gave the world the Panagaea and Agharta albums – tracks that were recorded ten days before the concert that appeared on those records, with different songs as well! The music is a dark brew of funk, fusion, and some surprisingly spiritual currents – thanks to wonderful work from Sonny Fortune on alto, soprano sax, and flute – working here alongside guitarist Pete Cosey, who provides plenty of the fuzzier, freakier moments of the set – as does keyboardist Reggie Lucas! Al Foster's drumming is wonderful – and Michael Henderson's bass will blow you away if you only know his later smoother soul albums – but as usual, Miles is the star once he opens up his horn and steps into the darkness.
Rare deluxe compilation that sounds and looks in all ways amazing. Some great picks on here in Miles' own Deception, Gerry Mulligan's Jeru or Baden Powell's Budo for starters. Lovely audophile piece in lovely taste.
Miles Davis published more than 40 albums during his lifetime. The classics "Kind Of Blue", "Sketches Of Spain" and "Bitches Brew" should have even less jazz-interested listeners in their collection. "Miles Deep" now approaches the big man's work on sidewalks: through fantastic live versions and less well-known studios.
Of Miles Davis's many bands, none was more influential and popular than the quintet with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. Davis's muted ballads and medium-tempo standards endeared him to the public. The horns' searing exposition of classics like "Salt Peanuts" and "Well, You Needn't" captivated musicians. The searching, restless improvisations of Coltrane intrigued listeners who had a taste for adventure. The flawless rhythm section became a model for bands everywhere. Steamin' With The Miles Davis Quintet is, in many respects representative of the total work of the quintet, it affords an excellent opportunity to examine just what this remarkable music was and how it was made. Such chemistry is inexplicable, and so, apparently, is the personality of the man who generated it.