Miles Davis: Moon Dreams
Miles Davis Octet
Birth of the Cool (Capitol 7243 5 30117 2 7)
Gunther Schuller (French horn), Bill Barber (tuba), Al McKibbon (bass).
Composed by Johnny Mercer & Chummy MacGregor. Arranged by Gil Evans.
Recorded: New York, March 9, 1950
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Miles Davis, artwork by Michael Symonds
Miles Davis once studied a Gil Evans chart "for days, trying to find the note I heard" when superimposed chords produced a mysterious overtone. Miles decided the note "didn’t even exist.” Here, after a passage ascends seamlessly from tuba through baritone through alto, Lee Konitz sustains a high note as the other instruments fall away. In the moment before Miles reenters, there's a faint sound that may be a squeak from Lee’s reed, a tape glitch, or perhaps a phantom Gil Evans overtone. This uncertainty contributes to the eeriness of “Moon Dreams,” among the most haunting orchestrations in jazz history.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz