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.
Cookin' With the Miles Davis Quintet is the first of four classic albums that emerged from two marathon and fruitful sessions recorded in 1956 (the other three discs released in Cookin's wake were Workin', Relaxin' and Steamin'). All the albums were recorded live in the studio, as Davis sought to capture, with Rudy Van Gelder's expert engineering, the sense of a club show · la the Café Bohemia in New York, with his new quintet, featuring tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. In Miles's own words, he says he called this album Cookin' because "that's what we did-came in and cooked." What's particularly significant about this Davis album is his first recording of what became a classic tune for him: "My Funny Valentine." Hot playing is also reserved for the uptempo number "Tune Up," which revs with the zoom of both the leader and Trane.
Bag's Groove was recorded in 1954 for Prestige Records but was not released until 1957. Most of the album was recorded on June 29, 1954, but the title track was recorded at one session on December 24 of the same year. Several of the tracks on the album were written by Sonny Rollins and would go on to become jazz standards in their own right. Recorded June 29 & December 24, 1954 in Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ.
For over five decades, trumpeter/bandleader Miles Davis (1926-91) was a major innovator of cool, modal, avant-garde, and fusion jazz styles. This video captures Davis's last working band: alto saxophonist/flutist Kenny Garrett, drummer Ricky Wellman, percussionist John Bingham, keyboardist Kei Akagi, bassist Benjamin Rietveld, and lead bassist Foley McCreary, live at the 10th Annual Paris Jazz Festival on November 3, 1989.
Any 1950s Miles Davis recording could easily be called a “collector’s item,” but these selections have special claims to this description. The first four offer Charlie Parker in his only recordings in support of Miles, who had begun his disc career as Bird’s sideman. The last four feature a unique Davis/Mingus encounter. In between is Miles just before launching his first great Quintet, heading two groups loaded with top talent of the “post-bop” period. Recorded on January 30, 1953 (1-4) WOR Studios, New York City and March 16, 1956 (5-7) at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ.
This was a forerunner of the Miles Davis Quintet as it was his first session with Red Garland and Philly Joe Jones. Up to then his Prestige dates had been of the "all star" variety. (Oscar Pettiford fills that bill here.) By the fall, John Coltrane and Paul Chambers would come aboard to help form the first of a continuum of great Davis working groups. On "A Night in Tunisia" Philly Joe used special sticks with little cymbals riveted to the shaft. Recorded June 7, 1955 at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ. With Red Garland, Oscar Pettiford, Philly Joe Jones.
Until now, the official recordings of Miles Davis' performances at the Fillmore East between June 17 and 20, 1970 have been limited to the double album Miles at the Fillmore. That set's producer Teo Macero, edited the recordings to create medleys of each night's music to four roughly 20-minute selections. This four-disc set contains all four concerts. There are 100 minutes of previously unreleased music from Wednesday through Saturday; an additional 35 minutes of unreleased music comes from a previous gig at the Fillmore West.