The crown jewel of the epic Evans/Davis triptych that began with MILES AHEAD and PORGY AND BESS, SKETCHES OF SPAIN is as emotionally compelling as any performance in the trumpeter's remarkable body of works.
Combining as it does the emotional gravity of two cultures--the deep song of flamenco music and the rich lament of the blues--SKETCHES OF SPAIN is a musical hybrid of enormous power and beauty. Gil Evans' immense canvas of orchestral colors inspires some of Davis' most deeply felt solo flights. He paints vast vistas of velvety, shimmering night sounds, and through it all runs the mountainous backbone of Spain's native rhythms and chants.
The centerpiece of SKETCHES OF SPAIN is the Evans/Davis treatment of the second movement of Rodrigo's "Concierto De Aranjuez." Evans' charts engage Davis in a shifting, insistent dialogue, italicizing the trumpeter's subtle variations and timbral ecstasies with magnificent orchestral flourishes. The surreal patina of three flutes and harp, high muted trumpets and woodwinds, and subterranean trombones, French horns and tuba that define one of the main variations on the theme, is a majestic foil for Davis' expressive tones.
Gil Evans liked to say that after Louis Armstrong, no one had affected the sound of the trumpet like Miles Davis. Miles fashioned a vibrato-less, introspective brass cry, made all the more lovely by his lush use of the middle and lower registers. Davis' manipulation of pitch on "Saeta" and "Solea" is so idiomatic, so vocalized, so full of revel and lament, it pierces your heart.
Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Janet Putnam (harp); Harold Feldman (flute, clarinet, oboe); Eddie Caine (flute, flugelhorn); Albert Block (flute); Danny Bank (bass clarinet); Romeo Penque (oboe); Jack Knitzer (bassoon); Louis Mucci, Ernie Royal, Johnny Coles, Taft Jordan, Bernie Glow (trumpet); Tony Miranda, Joe Singer, John Barrows, James Buffington, Earl Chapin (French horn); Dick Hixon, Frank Rehak (trombone); Jimmy McAllister, Bill Barber (tuba); Paul Chambers (upright bass); Jimmy Cobb (drums); Elvin Jones, Jose Mangual (percussion); Gil Evans.
Audio Remasterer: Mark Wilder.
Liner Note Authors: Gunther Schuller; Richard Seidel.
Arranger: Gil Evans.
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