Miles Davis: Flamenco Sketches


       Miles Davis, artwork by Michael Symonds

After hearing Bill Evans's remarkable “Peace Piece” (1958) for solo piano, Miles Davis re-upped his ex-sideman for two sessions that yielded Kind of Blue. Refashioning Evans's Satiesque ostinato, Miles overlays a revolving series of five scales evoking what Jelly Roll Morton called "the Spanish tinge," something Davis had explored on Miles Ahead (1957) and would again a few months later on his
Sketches of Spain. With gloriously lucid solos all around (especially Coltrane's), “Flamenco Sketches” lasts 9½ minutes, but you want it to go on forever. Which is precisely how long this breathtakingly beautiful masterpiece of modern jazz will live. Forever.

October 25, 2007 · 1 comment

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Miles Davis: So What (1964 version)

Miles Davis, artwork by Michael Symonds

In 1963, Miles Davis reinvigorated himself by forming a new quintet with younger, energetic, progressive-minded musicians. They stretched the boundaries of hard bop with harmonic and rhythmic adventures, yet maintained a ferocious sense of swing. With his new rhythm section—especially drummer Tony Williams—lighting a fire beneath him, Davis responds with fierce and blazing intensity of his own. His solo on this live version of “So What” is filled with sudden screams into the high register, snaking lines and deceptive starts and stops. Davis confronts and conquers his own limitations, and his playing is volatile and thrilling.

October 24, 2007 · 0 comments

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