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Porgy & Bess Original recording remastered, Extra tracks

113 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, March 25, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Miles' and Gil Evans' legendary interpretation of the Gershwin opera, boasting new notes and two bonus tracks only otherwise available on the Miles & Gil boxed set.

Take George Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, add Miles Davis and arranger Gil Evans, and what do you get? A classic jazz album that--despite the fact that the material has been rendered almost overly familiar due to countless interpretations--still sounds remarkably fresh four decades after its initial release. Miles' soft yet piercing trumpet style is perfectly suited to Gershwin's melancholy melodies, Evans' musical direction of his 18-piece orchestra is impeccable, and their version of "Summertime" may well be the finest ever waxed. Davis and Evans teamed up for several recordings after this one (including the landmark Sketches of Spain), but Porgy & Bess still stands as one of their most successful collaborations. --Dan Epstein

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Buzzard Song
  2. Bess, You Is My Woman Now
  3. Gone
  4. Gone, Gone, Gone
  5. Summertime
  6. Oh Bess, Oh Where's My Bess
  7. Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)
  8. Fishermen, Strawberry And Devil Crab
  9. My Man's Gone Now
  10. It Ain't Necessarily So
  11. Here Come De Honey Man
  12. I Loves You, Porgy
  13. There's A Boat That's Leaving Soon For New York
  14. I Loves You, Porgy (Take 1, Second Version)
  15. Gone (Take 4)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 25, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Columbia / Legacy
  • ASIN: B000002AH6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,492 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Eric V. Moye on February 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Look closely to see what is being written about Miles Davis' Porgy & Bess, and see how sometimes words fail us all. You will find words like: "Must-have", "best" superb" and the like. But they simply cannot do justice to this fabulous piece of music.
This may be the best collaboration of Davis and Gil Evans. When you add the gifts that they have shown on their other work to a combination with the Brothers Gershwin, you understandibly come up with something splendid, notwithstanding the fact that Gershwin and Davis could not have been different sociologically as they could have been.
The melodies here are comfortably familiar to anyone with more than a passing knowledge of American music, because they have been done so often by such a diverse group of performers. However, the minimalist playing of Miles Davis, combined with the musical tapestry created by Evans makes this wonderful music new again.
Hearing the trumpet of Miles Davis in the familiar strains of "Summertime" would make both Louis Armstrong and even Gabriel put down their horns and say "wow".
No music collection can be considered complete without this epic.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Tom on March 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I write this review as a confessed jazz amateur.
That said, this is some of the most beautiful music I am aware of .
Miles Davis employs a sensativity and subtlty that defy desription.
I would not be the first of his fans to be awed by his almost pervasive minimalism, but I am constantly chilled (in a most positive way) by the startling sound that appears from the black silence he paints.
Samuel Beckett once wrote that "...every word is a stain on silence and nothingness..." certainly Davis has taken this thought to heart.
Like a negative contour sketch that highlights the empty space, Davis dances around the silence, telling only enough of a musical story to leave you begging for more.
Whether or not "Porgy and Bess," sounds as Gershwin intended is largely irrelavent, because it sounds very much as Davis intended, and that makes this a fabulous recording.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on August 29, 2001
Format: Audio CD
For centuries, it was common for classical composers to display their virtuosity by creating variations on famous operas, such as Beethoven on 'The Magic Flute', or Liszt on Bellini. This lost art in the 20th century has been taken over by jazz musicians, the opera of choice being, naturally enough, Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess', that innovative explosion of classical and jazz.
Miles Davis' and Gil Evans' restructuring the narrative or song order of 'Porgy and Bess' is the most obvious hint of the total reworking and reimagining they effect here. Indeed, this recording is closer to Ravel than Gershwin - as in a piece like 'La Valse', popular material retains its points of reference, but is put through a deconstructing blender, dismantled, fractured, restructured. Like Ravel, Evans' orchestration is not lush, soft or soothing, but brittle, jerky and piercing, with Miles' understated, melancholy playing centring the work's heart. Songs from the opera which are upbeat, poppy, such as 'It Ain't Necessarily So', become expansive, ruminative; while tragic, deeply sorrowful songs, like the lament 'Gone', become in Evans' hands a propulsive, rhythmic monster. This is 'Porgy and Bess' shot in film noir, full of menace, anxiety, dark colour - the 'Buzzard song' is an appropriately unseeting, dread-ful opening. The opera's best moment, is appropriately this album's too: the love duet, 'Bess You is my woman now', expanding on the desperation and hints of desolation behind the warmth of the original.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By douglas barton on February 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
" The greatest music of the past, " wrote George Gershwin, "...has always been built on folk music. Jazz I regard as an American folk music, not the only one but a very beautiful one which is the blood and feeling of the American people. " That being said, Miles Davis/Gil Evans second collaboration " Porgy and Bess " is without a doubt, for me, their strongest, most passionate effort ever released by this incredible duo. A 'musical marriage' that would eventually produce four albums....each and everyone a classic in it's own way. But with " Porgy...." being my absolute favorite ( which must be rather like attempting to decide which one of your children you care for most! ) I thought a review might be one way of showing my respect.... and my admiration for each of these 'giants' in the field of jazz.
Gil Evans had always considered Miles to be his musical 'alter-ego' ( and best friend ) but with the eventual teaming of these two very contrasting personalities ( Miles ever volitale and Gil always soft spoken ) brought rewards due to their unique understanding of what the other was searching for in the studio. Beginning the disc with " Buzzard Song " which has the entire 18 piece ensemble blaring the intro Miles takes the melody and propels the bluesy track into a sort of mid-tempo shuffle that sets the playful yet down to earth tone of this amazing disc. And while there are many highlights to be found, " Summertime " I suspect would be the stand-out track for it's raw simplicity yet it's supple yearning that Mile's gives the song. I know the word 'definitive' is vastly over-used but in this case.... Other stand-outs, at least for me, must include " Bess, You Is My Woman Now " a bluesy number that while incredibly poignant, feels also strangly yearning as well.
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