Miles Davis: Boplicity




Miles Davis Nonet


Birth of the Cool (Capitol Jazz RVG Edition 30117)

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Miles Davis (trumpet), J.J. Johnson (trombone), Lee Konitz (alto sax), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), John Lewis (piano), Kenny Clarke (drums),

Sandy Siegelstein (French horn), Bill Barber (tuba), Nelson Boyd (bass)


Composed by Gil Evans and Miles Davis. Arranged by Gil Evans


Recorded: New York, April 22, 1949


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Even though Gil Evans was one of the chief architects of what became the Miles Davis Nonet, he provided only two arrangements for the ensemble, including this piece which he co-wrote but for some reason was never so credited. As he'd already demonstrated in writing for Claude Thornhill's big band, Evans was an orchestrational and contrapuntal master. "Boplicity" provides further proof: instrumental parts that are carefully crafted, beautiful to play and sound improvised, yet together result in a rich-textured ensemble that seems bigger than nine musicians. Mulligan, Davis and Lewis solo (although the short trumpet solo at 1:36 is fully notated). Decades later, this piece came up missing from Miles Davis's collection of scores; luckily Evans gave Gunther Schuller copies of the parts.

Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof

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