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Customer Discussions > Jazz forum

SKETCHES OF SPAIN


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Showing 1-25 of 43 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 11, 2008, 8:49:32 AM PDT
Westdale says:
Next to KIND OF BLUE, this recording, especially the Concierto De Aranjuez, has touched me emotionally for the longest time. I know it's controversial. It's not jazz and it's not classical/serious (I understand Miles said "It's just music and I like it."). Rodrigo apparently hated the adaptation of his Concierto... until the royalty checks started to arrive. But surely it is the most successful effort in combining the two musical forms. It also demonstrates, I submit, that Miles' technical limitations could be overcome by his phrasing, selection of notes and basic soulfulness. (Bill Evans said that jazz "is all about feelings - that's it.") Also: The voicing of Gil Evans' arrangements are clearly jazz-derived.

Okay, it doesn't swing and there is not (perhaps) enough improvisation. Keeping in mind that the album was released long before the Concierto became a cliche - it was used, among other things, as the soundtrack for a Chrysler commercial - I think it stands as one of the great musical accomplishments of the 20th century.

Agree? Disagree? Love it? Hate it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2008, 9:47:31 AM PDT
Nikica Gilic says:
I really like "Sketches of Spain";
although I basically tend to be a jazz purist (some would say "neocon"), and I don't really care for Miles' fusion (jazz-rock), electric, funk experiments, but this Spanish/classical fusion is great.

And, yes, I agree with those who think it's not really a jazz record (it doesn't really "swing"),
but I also agree that it's brilliant.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2008, 4:51:15 AM PDT
I love it. Its one of my favorite. If you have the chance listen to Bartoks "Concerto for Orchestra" . Gil Evans was highly influenced by it in Sketches..james

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2008, 9:15:47 AM PDT
Gil Evans was a genius, pure and simple. No, this work isn't jazz, never purported to be but will stand the test of time as one of the most important works ever written and arranged by a jazz artist. For that reason only, it should be in everyone's collection in my view. Of course, the same guy arranged Kind of Blue but, strangely, Gil's talent is still barely recognised especially by younger jazz fans. Talk about him with any musician who worked with him and the consensus will be "Gil was not only a genius but the nicest guy too".

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2008, 11:31:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2008, 11:32:29 AM PDT
I have never heard Gil Evans' name mentioned in connection with 'Kind of Blue'. It certainly doesn't appear anywhere on the album or any reissue I've seen. Do you have some sort of citation to support your contention? Or did you mean 'Birth of the Cool'?

I do really like 'SoS'.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2008, 1:10:28 PM PDT
ark, The modal qualities of kind of blue sort of sound like Gil Evans, but I dont think he was associated with the album..James

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2008, 9:34:32 AM PDT
M. Murphy says:
I'll liven up the debate a bit. I think Sketches is terribly overated and frankly I also think Miles stuff with Evans is pretty bad. Other than Miles Ahead both Sketches, Porgy, and that terrible Bossa Nova cd they did together are underrehearsed or at the least sloppy. In addition Miles was never the kind of trumpet player to be the sole soloist. He's simply not that kind of player. By the way I am A huge pre-70's Miles fan and I also like Evans stuff without Miles. So this opinion really is just about the work you've highlighted rathar than the players themselves.
Finally for a MUCH superior Concierto version check out Jim Halls version with Paul Desmend and Chet Baker. HEAR the difference.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2008, 11:39:34 AM PDT
Do you like 'Birth of the Cool'?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2008, 12:16:57 PM PDT
M. Murphy says:
B.J if your asking me[MM] hell yes I love Birth Of Cool which of course was a cd Miles got entirely too much credit for. I hear WAY more Gerry Mulligan and JJ Johnson influence in that cd and yes Gil Evans. For proof of my theory on that sample JJ Johnsons cds on Blue Note vol 1 and 2. Man they sound ALOT like Birth of Cool to my ears. I don't think JJ gets enough credit on Cool and he actually composed and arranged for large groups as did Mulligan. Of course Mulligans stuff with Baker,Desmend and Konitz are similarly played as Birth of Cool with smaller bands.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008, 12:53:57 PM PDT
A customer says:
BJM, according to Wikpedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kind_of_Blue#Composition" most of the modal theories came from George Russell, who, fwiw, was a key arranger and composer for Gil Evan's "Out of the Cool." I too was sure that Gil was not involved with Kind of Blue, but he wrote/arranged the opener to "So What." And, this tickled me, Bill Evans arranged three of the other songs.

Has anyone heard the Claude Thornhill recordings, post 1947, w/Gil Evans as the arranger? I've been thinking of getting it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008, 1:52:22 PM PDT
Ted, Ive not heard that Gil Evans arranged some material on those. they would be worth a listen. Also Gil Evans heir apparent is Maria Schneider. If you hacent heard her, give a listen although her cds are expensive..James

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008, 2:08:06 PM PDT
M. Murphy says:
Thornhill was a rathar conventional "almost" dance orch. at times but produced the likes of Evans,Mulligan[also acted as arranger too],Lee Konitz and others. In fact one could argue that Evans biggest contribution to Miles Birth of Cool cd was less in acting as arranger and more for recruiting the many great players he knew were wanting to "stretch" from the Thornhill band.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008, 2:41:03 PM PDT
A customer says:
Hi James,

Thanks for the Maria Schneider intro, the name rings a bell, so I'm going to look and see what's out there on MP3's or 4's. I'll let you know how I do.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008, 3:16:13 PM PDT
Thanks for the Wikipedia link. The entry states: "...the introduction to "So What", attributed to Gil Evans, is actually very closely based on the opening measures of Claude Debussy's Voiles...". This hardly seems to constitute any proof of Gil Evans involvement. His contribution was to arrange only the intro to a single tune? And it only says "attributed to".

I wouldn't even be surprised if the intro to "So What" was really written/arranged by the other Evans, Bill.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008, 7:48:58 PM PDT
Mark Levine says:
You all might try listening to other versions of what is a beautiful piece. One I like is the French guitarist Roland Dyens' version with the Serenata Orchestra. Gil and Miles had something to work with from the jump: where has Joaquin Rodrigo gone in all this discussion?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008, 4:33:31 AM PDT
B.J. Much of the scoring in Concerto de Arajuez is direct from Rodrigo. Also liston to Bartoks Concerto for orchestra where Evans got many ideas. But this is not a crtique of him. He is my favorite arranger..James

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008, 12:54:50 PM PDT
Nikica Gilic says:
Rodrigo's piece is beautiful on its own, no doubt about it;
as Miles said about another tune from "Sketches of Spain" (Saeta maybe? I'd have to check on my LP cover) - "the less you play it, the stronger it gets".
Other tunes are also beautiful by themselves which absolutely contributed to the beauty of this album.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008, 4:41:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2008, 4:44:06 PM PDT
Mark Levine says:
Regarding M. Gilic's comments, yes, that is among the many joys of jazz. It is like books and movies:good formers may be made into bad latters, vice versa, and occasionally good begets good, and bad, bad. Same fo' jazz.
I have a collection of what is now more but at one time were 150 separate versions of Body & Soul, naybe not a great song, but great changes. I mentioned this collection at a party once and my own lady-friend asked, incredulously and not without a bit of disdain,"How can you listen to the same song 150 times?"
Of course, her own inattentiveness is at issue here, but the fact is, as you all know, that I wasn't listening to the same "song" 150 times, but 150 different interpretations, some of them quite remarkable, and quite distinct. I liked Hilton Ruiz' version a lot, and Danilo Perez' take on Monk is now classic (and ongoing). Sonny R's unaccompanied solo (which Hawkins' was not) is worth noting.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008, 5:44:54 PM PDT
A customer says:
Mark! I only have 31 versions of Body & Soul! You have over 150. If I wasn't living in Costa Rica in a small town with only one Psychologist who doesn't speak English, I'd head for the couch - trying to work through the neurosis of my inadequacies. Now, I discover I've mislead myself into thinking I was adequately covering the Body, the Soul and several resurrections. To think I've been whining about the price of gasoline. Thank God for Tequila. When the Witch Doctor's away, nothing else works. 150! Wow!

How could I get a list of your Body & Souls? If you show me yours, I'll show you mine!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008, 5:53:16 PM PDT
Mark Levine says:
Anything for a landsman, although living in Costa Rica may make you an ex . I began the collection a while ago, so it is on cassette, and I noted only the performer, or the sideman/men if notable. I no longer have all the CD's, but I can sure check those CD titles in, I think, most cases. The problem--- as with all else back here in the States is time. But give me some, and I will comply. After all, it's a worthy cause, certainly for the obsessive. I am reminded of the T-Shirt that reads:

Is Obsessive Compulsive Hyphenated?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2008, 10:21:19 AM PDT
J L,
I own the album and I like it. It has everything I like = Miles, Gil, Spanish music, one of my all time favorite concertos but it hasn't blown me away.The fact that you think so highly of it makes me want to check it out again. I'll get back with you after I've had a chance to listen to it again. Sometimes a little aging on the shelf does good things to an album. I'll let you know.Jeffery

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2008, 6:53:34 AM PDT
Westdale says:
JEFFERY:

I honestly believe that one should hear a proper version of the Concierto, with guitar as the lead instrument, to more fully appreciate the work and understand what Evans and Davis did with it. For one thing, it's important to note that the SoS cut is only one of three movements in the work.

Personally, I believe I have heard few moments in recorded music as dramatic and moving as the point where Miles comes in after the extended fff/tutti passage at the end, like sunlight breaking through clouds following a storm. Miles may have been difficult at times - I'm being gentle here - but no one who could play with that degree of feeling could have been devoid of sensitivity and love.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2008, 7:55:59 AM PDT
JL,

I have 3 or 4 versions of the Concierto De Aranjuez as well as Jim Hall's CONCIERTO. I love them all. They may have spoiled my hearing of Sketches Of Spain a little. I read thru the liner notes yesterday of my '97 issue of SOS and will give the album a good listen this week.I haven't heard Sketches for probably 6/7 years. It may finally be ripe for the pickin' to my ears.

There were always 2 sides to Miles one being the empathy and friendship he shared with a fellow who always came off like a real prince of a human being - Gil Evans. These albums he works with Evans on reveal the kinder,gentler Miles I feel.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2008, 8:38:40 AM PDT
stevign says:
Jeffery:

re: "I love them all. They may have spoiled my hearing of Sketches Of Spain a little."

I bet. I've rarely heard ones worse than Davis' flaccid cover. When I want to hear the Concierto, I put on "The Romeros":

Los Romeros: The Rodrigo Collection

Or even Santana's "En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor" on:

Santana Brothers

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2008, 9:01:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 21, 2008, 12:01:30 PM PDT
cartier guy says:
i'm sort of intermediate when it comes to jazz but thanks to this discussion i have revisited miles and sketches of Spain mainly due to my sudden enlightenment and my tossing off miles earlier as venturing to far out, but after checking out some of the selections i have to admit, its compelling.
I havent heard any other versions but i'm not wanting to spoil my new discovery,,,,
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Jazz forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  43
Initial post:  Jul 11, 2008
Latest post:  Aug 4, 2008

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