Miles Davis: Gone, Gone, Gone


Gone, Gone, Gone


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 & Ira Gershwin. Arranged by Gil Evans


Recorded: New York, July 22, 1958


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Act I, Scene 2 of Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess (1935) finds a roomful of destitute Negroes attending the sheet-covered body of a lately murdered man, their fellow Catfish Row denizen Robbins. Upon his chest, a large blue saucer beckons donations. Robbins, an unlucky gambler with no life insurance, left a widow and baby penniless. By custom in such cases, mourners must sing lamentations to attract neighborhood condolences in the form of coins to defray burial costs. Otherwise, the Board of Health will cart away the remains for deposit into the hands of white medical students. And that, it was agreed by one and all, would be a fate worse than death.

In a mere 30 seconds, with nary a word sung or spoken, Gershwin's stark orchestral music chillingly evokes the majesty and mystery of death. Similarly, Miles Davis and Gil Evans require scarcely more than two minutes to lift Gershwin's delicate dirge from funerary to phantasmagoric realms as spectral as souls raised from the dead. Abrupt tape splices badly mar this track, obviously a patchwork composite and not a continuous performance. But even so, Gil's arrangement and Miles's flugelhorn here are the stuff from which goose bumps are made. Spine tingling.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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