Miles Davis: Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)
Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)
Miles Davis (flugelhorn)
Porgy and Bess (Columbia/Legacy 712764)
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), Jerome Richardson, Romeo Penque (flutes), Danny Bank (bass clarinet).
Composed by George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin. Arranged by Gil Evans.
Recorded: New York, August 4, 1958
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
This section of Porgy and Bess was never well known by the general public. In the opera, Bess goes with other residents of Catfish Row to a picnic on a small island, where she meets up with her former lover Crown. By the time she returns to Porgy, she is quite ill (the implication being that she has overdosed on drugs). The character Serena sings a prayer for her recovery, with Porgy and Lily singing responsively. In the world of Miles and Gil, Miles prays for Bess's soul as if he were a preacher, and the congregation responds. These responses build to a powerful climax before everything dies down. Listen closely for the subtle orchestral colorings, such as the tremolo in the string bass and bass clarinet, exemplifying how the Davis/Evans collaborations reveal many layers the more one listens to them.
Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof