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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gem
"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...
Published on September 23, 2000 by Sean M. Kelly

versus
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3
Limited, 180 Gram Audiphile Rare Mono Edition, pressed at RTI on Premium HQ-180 Vinyl. I have comments on the technical side. The fourth song is heard repeating crash. Cover without individual numbers!!! Just a shame.
Published 22 months ago by Wojciech Kidawski


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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gem, September 23, 2000
By 
Sean M. Kelly (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Miles Ahead (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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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 Stars, August 25, 2003
By 
Daniel Fineberg (Northridge, California USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Miles Ahead (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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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles Davis+19=Brilliant, May 6, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Miles Ahead (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
5.0 out of 5 stars It's time for tale-telling, May 12, 2008
This review is from: Miles Ahead (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. Miles glides over the brass and reeds during rubato passages of the title track, or slowly convinces the diatonic notes of his instrument to come forth with solely the bass clarinet supporting him. The resulting music is swinging, or lilting, or extravagantly magnificent, or even plaintive, but always stunningly beautiful. Gil Evans is among the select group of musicians and composers whose voicings were golden 100% of the time (Ravel, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, etc.).

The ten selections connect together in a ten-part suite, some of which was rehearsed without Miles (before he came to the studio and after he left). Springsville opens the album in fervid fashion, Miles' flugelhorn romping through the uptempo piece as if announcing a new man in town. The chords change so quickly that there seems to be no settling of a tonic, presenting no problem to the soloist. "Maids of Cadiz" slows the boat down, perhaps stopping at a village of beauteous (but forbidden?) maidens. The melody is lamented and unleashes percussive accents from the brass and silky chords of every type imaginable for Miles to gently state the melody over. Dave Brubeck's "Duke" could have been the "hit" of Side A of the record, featuring a half-time, happy, swinging melody that Miles states over rhythmic tuba and bouncy bass and drums - the solo section starts out with only horn accompanied by bass and drums, with strictly diatonic movement by the soloist joined by occasional preaching from the horn section. "My Ship," possibly one of jazz's most beautiful melodies, finds Evans really digging into the heart of the song to milk it for every note in the four and a half minutes of his orchestral rendition - the major ninth chords (with French horns stating the top note) create an unbelievably calm effect, combining nicely with Davis' subtle vibrato (Davis respecting the melody, barely embellishing it). Side A (I'd imagine, anyway) closes with the title tune, with Davis climbing down from his lookout tower and riding with the rest of the orchestra in a rhythmically unison statement. Davis solos over the mirthful chords, again, with such a diatonic approach - no tensional notes, no harmonic edge - yet his scalar flights fit perfectly with the rest of the orchestral palette.

"Side B" (let's stick with the LP theme) revisits the depressing minor mode with "Blues for Pablo," evoking the feeling that the boat has reached a city's commanding citadel fronted by a tough, demanding guard up front. For a large portion of this one, Miles steps out of the way and lets the orchestra release crunchy, dissonant voicings, bluesy figures, and punchy trumpet bombs. "New Rhumba" is definitely the "hit" of Side B, featuring an even more rhythmically appealing melody than "Duke." This masterpiece by Ahmad Jamal was the sole requested addition by Davis, and its sus4 chords and syncopated figures create a listening experience that is simply a testament to the orchestral wisdom of Evans. "Meaning of the Blues" slows the tempo back to the mellow Saturday night vibe, as if Miles were enunciating a story, the meaning of the blues, to a handful of listeners fascinated in his musical lore. The melody's chordal structure is similar to a combination between "Summertime" by Gershwin and "Wave" by Jobim - a mix of morose melodic statements and hopeful chords that look to the horizon. J.J. Johnson's "Lament," another candidate for jazz's most gorgeous melody, once again evokes the image of the orchestra surrounding Miles in a sizeable circular hedge (those who have seen any footage of this collaboration know that the orchestra did, indeed, form a circle, with Miles in the middle), and rather than his drowning, the result is his piercing tone stating the melody over the supporting horns. "Lament's" beauty simply can't be overstated, with its sequence of minor ninth chords (which Evans was a master of) finally resolving to a beautiful major destination at the end. The album closes with "I Don't Wanna Be Kissed," which could be the most conventionally jazzy of the melodies, following a rhythm changes structure and giving Miles a bass-drums solo background. The resulting music is so delicate and fine-spun - the orchestra ended its journey at the rose garden and along its tour doesn't hit a single thorn.

If you are listening to the version of Miles Ahead as part of the boxed set, you'll notice that every track has an alternate take. Good Lord, talk about "double or nothing!" So the listener can enjoy the album and listen through it once more, the second set different enough (in terms of melodic interpretation and improvisations) to keep things interesting.

Miles Ahead finds Miles and Gil Evans lamenting the world, celebrating its vastness, and creating an unspeakably variegated image of moods in the process. "Recommended" doesn't work - in lieu, how about, "there should be no opinion allowed - this music is artistically (and arguably aesthetically pleasingly) groundbreaking?"

kc
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles Ahead of anything you'll listen to, September 8, 2005
This review is from: Miles Ahead (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. To have that stance in the entire Miles Davis catalog is enough reason to recommend this album to all jazz enthusiasts, but the sheer strength of the album and compositions gives me reason to recommend this to the casual jazz listener. Start with Kind of Blue, but buy this soon after.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificently interwoven, December 25, 2001
By 
This review is from: Miles Ahead (Audio CD)
In order to appreciate a piano concerto or a symphony, you must listen to it in its entirety. Each movement, although a complete piece in itself, is tied to the next and to the one before it. Together, they paint a musical picture of what the master had in mind.
Such listening approach rarely, if ever, applies to modern music. Album selections are usually not related to each other and vary only in tempo and mood. "MILES AHEAD" is one exception. Arranger Gil Evans has cleverly woven ten disparate tunes together so that to the appreciative listener, the entire album plays like a suite. Although the pieces were written by different composers and songwriters, they sound as if they were individual movements of a complete work. Each track segues seamlessly into another.
"My Ship," for instance, has a coda that leads quietly into the title track. This Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin gem features the pure, sweet singing tone of Miles Davis's flugelhorn. This is the most beautiful interpretation that I've ever heard.
"Miles Ahead" is one exquisite album. To understand and appreciate it completely, one should listen to it in its entirety . So, sit back and enjoy this magnificently interwoven album in all its glorious, remastered stereophonic sound.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best album ever..A timeless masterpiece of sound..., December 28, 1999
By 
Joe Owen "Joe" (Republic of Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Miles Ahead (Audio CD)
After so many brilliant recordings by Miles Davis, this is the one that stands out among the rest. Miles Davis was at his peak of musicianship when this recording was released. Half of the praise should also go to Gil Evans, the best arranger, conductor of Jazz sound (except for Duke Ellington). Davis and Evan's orchestra compliment each other on this recording and this is the best collaboration that these 2 giants of jazz recorded, and this is no small feat due to the brilliance of their other collaborations (Sketches of Spain, Porgy and Bess, Quiet Nights). If I had to pick one introductory album to anyone interested in listening to Jazz, this would be the one. A timeless masterpiece of Miles Davis...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for Tale-Telling!, May 12, 2008
This review is from: Miles Ahead (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. Miles glides over the brass and reeds during rubato passages of the title track, or slowly convinces the diatonic notes of his instrument to come forth with solely the bass clarinet supporting him. The resulting music is swinging, or lilting, or extravagantly magnificent, or even plaintive, but always stunningly beautiful. Gil Evans is among the select group of musicians and composers whose voicings were golden 100% of the time (Ravel, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, etc.).

The ten selections connect together in a ten-part suite, some of which was rehearsed without Miles (before he came to the studio and after he left). Springsville opens the album in fervid fashion, Miles' flugelhorn romping through the uptempo piece as if announcing a new man in town. The chords change so quickly that there seems to be no settling of a tonic, presenting no problem to the soloist. "Maids of Cadiz" slows the boat down, perhaps stopping at a village of beauteous (but forbidden?) maidens. The melody is lamented and unleashes percussive accents from the brass and silky chords of every type imaginable for Miles to gently state the melody over. Dave Brubeck's "Duke" could have been the "hit" of Side A of the record, featuring a half-time, happy, swinging melody that Miles states over rhythmic tuba and bouncy bass and drums - the solo section starts out with only horn accompanied by bass and drums, with strictly diatonic movement by the soloist joined by occasional preaching from the horn section. "My Ship," possibly one of jazz's most beautiful melodies, finds Evans really digging into the heart of the song to milk it for every note in the four and a half minutes of his orchestral rendition - the major ninth chords (with French horns stating the top note) create an unbelievably calm effect, combining nicely with Davis' subtle vibrato (Davis respecting the melody, barely embellishing it). Side A (I'd imagine, anyway) closes with the title tune, with Davis climbing down from his lookout tower and riding with the rest of the orchestra in a rhythmically unison statement. Davis solos over the mirthful chords, again, with such a diatonic approach - no tensional notes, no harmonic edge - yet his scalar flights fit perfectly with the rest of the orchestral palette.

"Side B" (let's stick with the LP theme) revisits the depressing minor mode with "Blues for Pablo," evoking the feeling that the boat has reached a city's commanding citadel fronted by a tough, demanding guard up front. For a large portion of this one, Miles steps out of the way and lets the orchestra release crunchy, dissonant voicings, bluesy figures, and punchy trumpet bombs. "New Rhumba" is definitely the "hit" of Side B, featuring an even more rhythmically appealing melody than "Duke." This masterpiece by Ahmad Jamal was the sole requested addition by Davis, and its sus4 chords and syncopated figures create a listening experience that is simply a testament to the orchestral wisdom of Evans. "Meaning of the Blues" slows the tempo back to the mellow Saturday night vibe, as if Miles were enunciating a story, the meaning of the blues, to a handful of listeners fascinated in his musical lore. The melody's chordal structure is similar to a combination between "Summertime" by Gershwin and "Wave" by Jobim - a mix of morose melodic statements and hopeful chords that look to the horizon. J.J. Johnson's "Lament," another candidate for jazz's most gorgeous melody, once again evokes the image of the orchestra surrounding Miles in a sizeable circular hedge (those who have seen any footage of this collaboration know that the orchestra did, indeed, form a circle, with Miles in the middle), and rather than his drowning, the result is his piercing tone stating the melody over the supporting horns. "Lament's" beauty simply can't be overstated, with its sequence of minor ninth chords (which Evans was a master of) finally resolving to a beautiful major destination at the end. The album closes with "I Don't Wanna Be Kissed," which could be the most conventionally jazzy of the melodies, following a rhythm changes structure and giving Miles a bass-drums solo background. The resulting music is so delicate and fine-spun - the orchestra ended its journey at the rose garden and along its tour doesn't hit a single thorn.

If you are listening to the version of Miles Ahead as part of the boxed set, you'll notice that every track has an alternate take. Good Lord, talk about "double or nothing!" So the listener can enjoy the album and listen through it once more, the second set different enough (in terms of melodic interpretation and improvisations) to keep things interesting.

Miles Ahead finds Miles and Gil Evans lamenting the world, celebrating its vastness, and creating an unspeakably variegated image of moods in the process. "Recommended" doesn't work - in lieu, how about, "there should be no opinion allowed - this music is artistically (and arguably aesthetically pleasingly) groundbreaking?"

kc
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic Big Band album., April 10, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Miles Ahead (Audio CD)
This album is amazing. Gil Evans and Miles put out their second classic. One of Miles's best peformances, Miles plays flugelhorn, and plays all kinds of standards. The best track, the great "Springsville", is written by John Carisi, one of the backup trumpet players. Miles shows amazing tone and quality on this track. There is also a classical track on here, "The Maids Of Cadiz", which is an amazing track with great playing from both Miles and the orchestra. There is a remake of "The Duke", by Dave Brubeck. The song shows the strength of the orchestra, and of course, Miles. "My Ship", a Kurt Weill song is great with it's outstanding percussion work from Art Taylor. The arrangement is lush and beautiful. "Miles Ahead" is the only song written by Miles and Gil on the whole CD, but it is a great bouncing tune. The backup trumpets do a good job of helping Miles solo. "Blues For Pablo" is written by Gil Evans, it is superior with the lush writing. "New Rhumba" is the Ahmad Jamal tune, and it has a great arrangement. "The Meaning Of The Blues"/"Lament" is a good medley and Miles plays beautifully on both of them. "I Don't Wanna Be Kissed", shows Miles's virtuosity on his horn. The band does an excellent job. Miles and company do a great job on this must-have classic.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of American composition. 5++++ stars, November 13, 2005
This review is from: Miles Ahead (Audio CD)
Most people who listen to Miles Davis are immediately drawn to the broodingly sensitive tone and style which he developed after his formidable stint with Charlie Parker. Without getting too far into a jazz history lesson, Davis wanted to make the post-Bird music sound "pretty" and didn't want to address the madness of the world at that time, so to speak, that the boppers were so desperately trying to portray. That is to be expected, considering his background. Miles Davis as a singular performer was and posthumously still is one of the most unique and piercing artists in the musical idiom and he could singularly carry a recording. Along with Louis Armstrong and a hand full of other innovators he was able to express the poignant complexity of the human condition through his playing that touches us in a profoundly emotional and spiritual way. What makes this recording a monument however is the addition of Gil Evans and the beauty and genius of his arrangements. Anyone who is a fan of jazz already knows that the form, when executed properly, is readily capable of tapping into pith and pathos of the truly human experience. It addresses issues that "proper" classical music ignores. This is not to say that I don't like classical music but, considering the general history of humanity, the emotional content of music prior to the mid-nineteenth century is a bit antiquated and doesn't express the true spectrum of experience of a post-atomic society. To me this recording displays the pinnacle of the possibilities of music. Not only are the arrangements compelling in there dynamic and musical content, but the particular performers give the arrangements their due...; unbelievable execution throughout. (Listening to the alternate takes on this reissue backs this point) This is the "great American novel" of music. I could go on and on; but to the point... If you have an ear and a brain and a heart, you'll probably get it. Lack one, however, lacks all three (to parody Walt Whitman). Listen for yourself.
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Miles Ahead
Miles Ahead by Miles Davis
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