Miles Davis: My Man's Gone Now


My Man's Gone Now


Miles Davis (flugelhorn)


Porgy and Bess (Columbia/Legacy 712764)

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Miles Davis (flugelhorn), Paul Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums),

Johnny Coles, Bernie Glow, Ernie Royal, Louis Mucci (trumpets), Joe Bennett, Frank Rehak, Jimmy Cleveland, Dick Hixson (trombones), Willie Ruff, Julius Watkins, Gunther Schuller (French horns), Bill Barber (tuba), Cannonball Adderley (alto sax), Phil Bodner, Romeo Penque (flutes), Danny Bank (bass clarinet)


Composed by George Gershwin & DuBose Heyward. Arranged by Gil Evans


Recorded: New York, July 22, 1958


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

British critic Max Harrison felt that the full potential of Gil Evans's charts for Miles Davis's Porgy and Bess was not realized in the recording. He based this belief largely on a letter he received from a musician on the date who claimed that the rehearsals were rushed, Evans was not a great conductor, and that as excellent as the end result turned out, it should have been even better. Harrison did not disclose the musician's identity, but Larry Hicock's biography Castles Made of Sound: The Story of Gil Evans (2002) quotes session participant Gunther Schuller by name and at length to the same effect.

Listening to a piece like "My Man's Gone Now," one could hardly imagine how it could be significantly or even noticeably improved. Serena's lamentation for her slain husband Robbins, "My Man's Gone Now" as reworked by Davis and Evans is mesmerizing from beginning to end. Miles plaintively caresses the melody with the support of Paul Chambers's resonant bass figures and an insinuating orchestral vamp, soon to be replaced by pungent brass punctuations. The tempo doubles as Miles solos thematically over the urgent pulse of Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. The orchestra's voicings display a resigned mournfulness in contrast to Miles's grieving flugelhorn cries, and the wailing brass exclamations in the closing section culminate in a dirge-like interlude by the full ensemble.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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