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Sketches of Spain [Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks]

Miles Davis, Dave Liebman, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra with Dave Liebman, David LiebmanAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 23, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002AH7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,397 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Concierto De Aranjuez (Adagio)
2. Will O' The Wisp
3. The Pan Piper
4. Saeta
5. Solea
6. Song Of Our Country
7. Concierto De Aranjuez (Part One)
8. Concierto De Aranjuez (Part Two Ending)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Miles Davis's impact on jazz is almost incalculable. From his early days as a sideman for Charlie Parker, through his groundbreaking Birth of the Cool sessions, to his stunning small groups of the '50s and '60s, through to his electric renaissance, the trumpeter, bandleader, and composer has left a deep mark on all who came after. He is one of jazz's true giants. Sketches of Spain, though one of Davis's most commercially successful sessions, is also one of his most controversial. Re-teaming with arranger and composer Gil Evans, who played such a pivotal role in Davis's 1949 Birth of the Cool recordings, Davis recorded a series of large group albums beginning in the late '50s, including Porgy and Bess, Miles Ahead, and Quiet Nights. Sketches of Spain, with its emphasis on flamenco, rich orchestrations, and relaxed tempos, is certainly one of Davis's most mellow recordings (he even works out on fluegelhorn), and proved to have broad appeal. To some critics, however, the project was "elevated elevator music." An expanded version of the album, featuring alternative tracks and unreleased material, was issued in 1997 by Columbia Legacy. --Fred Goodman

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
155 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Tone Poems January 26, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain
Among instrumentalists, the collaborations of Miles Davis and Gil Evans are often controversial. Though people universally acknowledge that Evans was a genius as an arranger, it's not easy for those who want a full out hard-bop blowing session to adjust to the cool colors and laid back aesthetic of these works. For many; the most difficult of the Davis/Evans collaborations is this third one in the series. While Miles Ahead and Porgy and Bess both have obvious roots in big band writing, Sketches of Spain delves into material that was generally not in the mainstream at the time. That it does so with subtlety and style is something that can often be overlooked by those who wish that Miles would blow more.
Sketches of Spain has its genesis in the slow movement of the Rodrigo Concierto di Arguanez, one of the most beloved pieces of classical music out of Spain. Both Miles and Gil Evans were taken with the piece when they were introduced to it and it forms the centerpiece of the album, and the number that seems to register the greatest number of complaints. Purists in the classical world dislike it's fast and loose treatment of the original work, and in fact, Rodrigo was on record as detesting the final product. And jazz musicians felt the work to be pretentious, with not enough room for Miles to solo, and not enough out and out swing. There was also a feeling that the work was just blatantly copied from it's origins and that any brilliance in the work was due to Rodrigo, not to Evans.
A careful hearing, especially a side-by-side comparison with the original Concierto, can dispel much of the criticism of this work. Evans does not merely imitate the piece; he imaginatively rethinks it for wind ensemble.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 ˝ * Brooding Colors: A Mostly Superb Effort January 30, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This is a favorite of many Miles fans, and for good reason, it's an impressionistic yet accessible introduction to the Miles canon. It features what some might call "classical" orchestrations, though this is misleading: The term is too broad. It's probably more precise to trace the album to impressionist composers such as Ravel and Debussy.
The long, "classical" piece, "Concierto de Aranjuez (16 minutes, 14 seconds)," is the one most often criticized. To call it "elevator music" is ridiculous, but the composition is heavy on orchestration and much too light on improvisation. Although there's a nice tempo break at one point, it doesn't demand much of us-this may appeal to some listeners, but I found it somewhat dry and ascetic. Still, it sometimes conveys a poignant delicacy. The "long form" in jazz has always been problematic; I don't think this piece is wholly successful, but will probably be enjoyed by most. The last cut, "Solea" (see below) is a better long piece, with more tension and texture.
"Will O' the Wisp" is a much shorter (3:48) piece but involves Miles a little more than "Concierto." The middle section is superb, replete with dissonance and Miles' beautiful tone. "The Pan Piper" (3:57) is similar but more brooding, with Miles layering thoughtful lines against flutes and violins. IT features excellent dynamics and the economical expression of great emotion that are Davis trademarks. The march-influenced "Saeta" (4:57) has a wonderful "Moorish" sound to it, and Miles does some tremendous blowing against a simple background of percussion, strings, and horns. This is a superb example of contained energy.
The final composition "Solea" (12:08) is a more fully realized attempt at long forms.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Classical meets Jazz album October 2, 2000
Format:Audio CD
This album is a collaboration between Gil Evans and Miles Davis and what they created will forever change the Jazz and Classical world. A mixture of Spanish classical scores, and jazz melody.
As Duke Ellington said, "It is becoming increasingly difficult to decide where jazz starts or where it stops, where Tin Pan Alley begins and jazz ends, or even where the borderline lies between classical music and jazz. I feel there is no boundary line." If was any boundary line left when this album came out, it was definately obliviated after this.
This is a perfect piece to listen to in the morning, or anytime when you are just relaxing. I have never been to Spain, but if I went it would probably have trouble competing with the experience of this music. The remastered version is very well done, and the sound is phenomenal for a 1959 recording. The Sound stage is wide and open. And Davis's trumpet is clear and focused. If you want to bridge the gap either from jazz to classical, or vice versa this is the album to do it with. If you love Miles Davis and want something very relaxing and beautiful from him this is a great album to own. Essential for Miles Davis fans.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The quiet joys of brotherhood... May 1, 2003
Format:Audio CD
There are already more than 70 reviews posted for this famous production, so I'll be brief: it's the kind of album one has to listen to attentively and repeatedly to learn to love. This is not the Miles of "Kind of Blue." The joys here are indeed quiet, because melancholy and somber beauty dominates just about every track. The white arranger/conductor/composer Gil Evans, older than the black, gifted, moody Davis, had already collaborated with the trumpeter on two earlier records, but this was to be the most challenging of all. Up to 20 musicians joined in, yet Evans has restrained almost all of them to brilliant, fleeting moments in the limelight or to hushed but superbly rendered accents. Only one woman was on the project, the harpist, but the orchestra was a good mixture of black and white men. Evans and Davis created a memorable Spanish feel to all the moments. Yes, I think it is jazz, but as a listener, it feels like a long, sad symphony. I did not give it a fifth star simply because I personally missed having at least one uptempo tune to give the listener a short break from loneliness. I think the concept deserves six or seven stars, and the execution musically at least five. Certainly this is not the ideal item to start a Miles Davis collection, but it can't be left out of any collection of more than about 10 CD's of his. One has to be in the mood for it, and submerge one's ears in it, to get the genius of it. Definitely Miles dominates everything with his trumpet, which at times is a bit shrill for me (I'm a sax man, mainly) but he plays with such depth of emotion that even the non-fan will grant his talent. No wonder it is a landmark, albeit a controversial one. For sure, it is a jazz record that classical music fans might appreciate more than anyone else.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful sound
Miles at his best
Published 14 days ago by Hanna
3.0 out of 5 stars im kind of a jazz newbie
I purchased "kind of blue" I really dug it. I was into it and then I purchased this one and completely different sounds and vibes. its ok not really my cup of tea.. Read more
Published 20 days ago by gee riley
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Classic
During a discussion of Miles Davis at my neighborhood pub, it occurred to me that it was likely that I could sample this great album for a friend who had never heard it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eric Rene
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT GIFT
This was the perfect gift for a Miles Davis fan. A very beautiful and soothing album. Delivery of the product was also very fast.
Published 3 months ago by MJ
2.0 out of 5 stars OK
The CD is OK. "The Best of the Capitol/Blue Note Years" is a much better CD. "Cookin with the Miles Davis Quintet" is also better.
Published 4 months ago by Booker T. Wheeler
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Miles, this is a must.
This is stunningly rich and beautiful. Sometimes when listening to this I am overwhelmed. Every jazz fan needs to listen to this at a time when they can give themselves completely... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles Scores Another Classic
Along with "After Midnight," this album is the other bookend of Miles' career. Its dreamy quality takes you away to the Andalucian hills, where you can almost visualize the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Fuzzy Lajek
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles Well Love It
Sketches of Spain (1960) is one of the Miles must-haves; it is a very unique album that dares to be different, and stands out in his catalog. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Todd7
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to Vinyl (MONO) Glory
This is a review for the vinyl MONO reissue. In 1960 (the year Sketches of Spain was recorded) and until about the mid to late 1960's "stereo" recordings were the less... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andor Kiss
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for any Jazz Collection
If I could only own two Miles Davis Albums, I would choose "Kind of Blue" and "Sketches of Spain". He was a genius.
Published 6 months ago by Weasely
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