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Sketches of Spain

205 customer reviews

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Vinyl, January 8, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

180gm vinyl repressing of the mono edition of the Jazz legend's 1960 album. Sketches Of Spain is considered by fans and critics alike to be one of the most accessible albums of Davis's career. Less improvisational than much of his other work, some of Davis' contemporaries suggested that Sketches Of Spain was something other than jazz. Davis replied (according to Rolling Stone magazine), "It's music, and I like it".


1. Concierto de Aranjuez (Adagio) (Mono Version)
2. Will O' The Wisp (Mono Version)
3. The Pan Piper (Mono Version)
4. Saeta (Mono Version)
5. Solea (Mono Version)

Product Details

  • Vinyl (January 8, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • ASIN: B009VTAHN6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,839 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Forbes on 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 By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 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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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Chad A. Lauterbach on 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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By William E. Adams on 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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