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Miles Ahead Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

68 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, September 23, 1997
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Miles Miles

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Miles Ahead + Porgy & Bess + Sketches of Spain
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

DAVIS MILES MILES AHEAD

Amazon.com

These 1957 recordings were the first of Miles Davis's collaborations with arranger Gil Evans for Columbia, renewing a relationship that had begun with the Birth of the Cool sessions in 1949. It was perhaps the most important relationship ever forged between a jazz soloist and an arranger, for Evans excelled at finding fresh material (like Delibes's "The Maids of Cadiz") and then adding subtle voicings and blending unusual instruments to highlight Davis's central voice. Everything Evans does enhances the trumpeter's keen sense of space and his evocative sound. He could construct complex arrangements and make them fly (as on the opening "Springsville," by John Carisi), contrast Davis's voice with tuba or bass clarinet, or create the longing, Spanish-inflected "Blues for Pablo," a precursor to their later Sketches of Spain. --Stuart Broomer

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 23, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: 1957
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002AGM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,664 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Sean M. Kelly on September 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
"Miles Ahead +19" is an unusual lp when first listened to. It's not quite jazz, not quite orchestral work. It's a beautiful hybrid of the 2 that has stood the test of time well. Gil Evans asserts his mastery of composition as well as his understanding of what Miles can coax out of his trumpet (and flugelhorn on this cd), and does both masterfully.
The coup of this cd is that it has been properly re-mastered and restored to what it was in 1957. Several bad releases made this lp unlistenable for a long time (I have a mono lp copy that I got 15 years ago and it sounds terrible), but Columbia has finally solved that problem.
This lp can also be had as part of the superb Miles Davis/Gil Evans box set that covers this, "Porgy and Bess," "Sketches of Spain," and "Quiet Nights," as well as a few tracks they did in the late 60's. Highly recommended... and if you can't get that set, then of course, this lp is very much recommended.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Fineberg on August 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
What in god's name more is there to say about this recording to someone who has not listened to it, and listened to it all the way through? How about an anecdote from Miles' autobiography--the joy he felt when Dizzy Gillespie came knocking on his door and asked for another copy because he had worn the first one out. "It's the best," he said. I think I've listened to it more than any other CD I own. Miles on the flugelhorn is perfect. Gil Evans' arrangements are perfect. The choice of tunes--from Dave Brubeck's "The Duke" to Ahmad Jamal's "New Rhumba" to Evans' indescribably beautiful "Blues for Pablo"--are all perfect. Listen to it, and listen to it again.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is one of those records that trancends time. It is unlike anything that a casual jazz fan may have heard. This record was recorded in bits and pieces and was heavily edited and overdubbed. Thus it has been difficult to transfer the album onto a cd. The original stereo issue of this cd was a butchered job that contained substantially different takes and passages than the original LP (which was released in mono). A second issue (in mono this time) was better, but still included substantial differences from the original. This definitive version restores almost everything in the original LP (but it is still not exactly the same as the 1957 LP). This is beautifully simple music recorded in tight complex arrangements by the great Gil Evans. But despite what you may read below, it is not a Big Band album. It is an album by an expanded small group that takes the ideas put forth by Evans and Gerry Mulligan in the Birth of the Cool sessions (which used a nonet) to the next step. It provides almost a perfectly textured background to Miles's flugelhorn.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By trumpet mercenary on May 12, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Either as its own or as part of the elegant boxed set collecting all of the orchestral collaborations between Miles Davis and Gil Evans, "Miles Ahead" finds the ripe Davis crossing into previously unchartered lands for him - playing in front of a large-scale orchestra conducted by Gil Evans. Unlike the other orchestral collaborations, "Miles Ahead" has no specific theme or flavor to it, but it was the first of such albums, and its music stood tall because of its newness and daring approach, hence its name.

In "Miles Ahead," Evans' orchestra serves as a bed of gentle flowers for Davis to walk upon while playing his delicate and meaningful musical statements. The orchestra includes five trumpets, three trombones (and a bass trombone), three French horn players, a tuba player, three doublers between flute and clarinet, a bass clarinetist, Lee Konitz on alto, and Paul Chambers and Art Taylor on bass and drums, respectively, but rather than crush the sensitive Miles under its size and power, it surrounds and supports him with a soundscape of astonishing beauty and prods him to produce morsel after morsel of song from his flugelhorn.

Not only were these some of the top improvisers in jazz (Konitz) and studio musicians (the ubiquitous Jimmy Cleveland), but Gil Evans could be possibly the fairest and most brilliant of orchestrators to ever enter the realm of jazz. Amazing in 1956 and equally impressive over fifty years later, "Miles Ahead's" numbers are not head-solo-head treatments or even "orchestral introduction then trumpet glory" sequences, either; any possible combination of the above instruments you can imagine is used in the recording.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JP Spielsawa on September 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I find myself always going back to the music of Miles Davis. It's ironic that a saxophonist would consider Davis his favorite jazz musician, but at the same time, his body of work is tremendous. This album, technically the second involving Gil Evans and the first to involve him completely, is definitely a high point in the whole catalog.

The fact that it was mastered to sound as if the whole album is one piece, showing how important to both the LP format was as an art form. Each song complements each other, and although there are definite standouts, the fact that each song has room with each other is amazing. Jazz albums tend to be more song-oriented than album-centered, so it is a definite plus to find one that concentrates on both.

The definite highlights, "Springsville," "Miles Ahead," and "Blues for Pablo," have a flavor all of their own. "Springsville" is such a cheerful song with its uptempo and flugel runs. "Miles Ahead" is a masterpiece of jazz; the composition itself plays like a jazz standard, and the band perfectly complements Davis' solo spots. "Blues for Pablo" hints at what was to come with Porgy and Bess and conveys the blues a way a big band should: with subtlety and affection.

Kind of Blue will always be my favorite Miles Davis album and jazz album in general, and it is difficult to truly find my second-favorite Davis album. Miles Ahead is the one I've considered the most, just ahead of Sketches of Spain and 'Round About Midnight, for that coveted spot. It's beauty lies not with just what was on the album, but to what the album led. It made possible Sketches and Porgy, and it was a counterpoint to Davis' modal evolution, namely Milestones and Kind of Blue.
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