Miles Davis: Fishermen, Strawberry and Devil Crab


Fishermen, Strawberry and Devil Crab


Miles Davis (flugelhorn)


Porgy and Bess (Columbia/Legacy 712764)

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Miles Davis (flugelhorn),

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), Paul Chambers (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums)


Composed by George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin. Arranged by Gil Evans


Recorded: New York, July 29, 1958


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

As Act II, Scene 3 of Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess (1935) opens, dawn breaks over Catfish Row. As always, daylight summons forth itinerant street peddlers. First the plaintive Strawberry Woman, and in turn the crabby Crab Man hawk their pitiful wares. In opera, expository material is often a necessary evil, throwaway stuff whose sole purpose is to move the plot along. Not so with Gershwin, who transforms the mundane into a masterful vignette of the struggle for survival. For this interpretation, Miles Davis and Gil Evans faithfully recapture the pathos of Gershwin's peddlers, yet add an ineffable, transcendent dignity. Through the gently breaking dawn of Gil's gorgeous flutes, muted trumpets and trombone/French horn choir, breaks Miles's heart-wrenching flugelhorn, crying across the ages, reminding us that just as the quiet desperation of everyday life is universal, so too is our ultimate triumph. These four minutes of music are as miraculous, mysterious and irresistibly beautiful as a sunrise.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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