Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Miles Davis -- Sketches of Spain
I am sure I am not alone in this morbid curiosity: I would love to be visited by the ghosts of deceased musicians I admire, so I could ask them what they were feeling when they recorded a particular piece. Miles Davis would be at the top of that list, and the first thing about which I would ask him is Sketches of Spain.
Sketches of Spain was recorded directly after Kind of Blue, Davis' landmark, heralded masterpiece of improvisation. Sketches of Spain is a completely different beast, more focused on pre-written parts than improv. Sketches of Spain features arrangements by Gil Evans, all of a traditional Spanish nature, fusing together with Davis' jazz stylings in an unlikely partnership. The classic nature of these recordings isn't in the perfect harmony of these two elements, but in the tension, and in the ways that Davis is still able to improvise his trumpet playing, despite tighter restrictions. The music, despite this tension, is still relaxed and enjoyable to listen to, background noise if you're not paying attention, complex and absorbing if you are. The thing of it is, no matter the nature of each piece, Miles is able to conjure this sort of intangible melancholy. That's what I want to ask him about. I feel it, and I can't put it into words. I'd like to see if he can...but I'm guessing his ghost will only tell me what I already know: you can't put it into words...some feelings can only be expressed musically. Seriously, you'd think ghosts would be more helpful...
1960 Columbia Records
1. Concierto de Aranjuez 16:19
2. Will o' the Wisp 3:47
3. The Pan Piper 3:52
4. Saeta 5:06
5. Solea 12:15
1997 reissue bonus tracks
6. Song of Our Country 3:23
7. Concierto de Aranjuez (alternate take, part one) 12:04
8. Concierto de Aranjuez (alternate take, ending) 3:33