MILES DAVIS — Sketches of Spain (review)

MILES DAVIS — Sketches of Spain album cover Album · 1960 · Third Stream Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
As I've said previously, there is no way I will review all albums prior the era we are concerned, apart from reviewing AKOB, I will also review this one, because it acts a bit as a concept and throws in Spanish music in the standard jazz, much the same way Coltrane was busy with Africa, roots into jazz (see his album Africa/Brass). SOS is part of Mile's "Gil Evans Trilogy", Gil being the Canadian pianist/arranger that Miles will thrust for musical direction, and more than Porgy & Bess, SOS is the most acclaimed. Of you're a hopeless symphonic proghead loving all of these dramatic moments, and was never into jazz-inflected music, this might be the album for you to finally "get" jazz, which under Gil's directions and compositions (all except Rodrigo's Aranjuez are his) comes close to classic music. This possible only to Evans' outstanding arrangements as the only string instruments are Paul Chambers's contrabass and Putnam's harp; and for Rodrigo's Concerto De Aranjuez, this is quite a feat. Of course SOS is not just "Orange Juice", as the Mexican-sounding (due to the percussions) Will-Of-Wisp and The Pan Piper without the Pan flute (and usually more associated with Greek or Balkanised mythology) are short track that give out as much flavour as the Concerto did. The next two tracks Saeta and Solea are both again close to the Will-Of-Wisp realm, but this time the rhythm is more enthralling and we could believe ourselves hearing the soundtrack of those old Zorro B&W movies, so if you like dramatics, in your music you should find plenty of it in this album. The remastered issue comes with Aranjuez outtakes, but also the unavailable Song Of Our Country, which is pretty well in the context of the album as it was recorded the same day (and line-up) as the rest of the tracks (Aranjuez excepted).

Well this third and last collaboration between Evans and Davis gave out the nearly perfect SOS, obviously they patted ways and went on to greatzer things, but this is specially valid for Miles. But it's clear that he probably wouldn't have reached his phenomenal statiure both in the 60'sand in the 70's, if he hadn't dealt with Evans's directions ibn the first place. As I said above, if some of those progheads are hopelessly lost out on classically-derived melodies or XXX and are not able to get into jazz, they should at least try this album out before definitely turning their backs upon the genre.

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