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Aura CD

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by William Ruhlmann

Throughout a professional career lasting 50 years, Miles Davis played the trumpet in a lyrical, introspective, and melodic style, often employing a stemless Harmon mute to make his sound more personal and intimate. But if his approach to his instrument was constant, his approach to jazz was dazzlingly protean. To examine his career is to examine the history of jazz ... Read more in Amazon's Miles Davis Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 Feb. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Jazz
  • ASIN: B000026BMA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,653 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Miles Davis - Aura

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Miles Davis' almost last studio Lp "Aura" from 1989 is a late (very late) return to the ambient jazz rock he helped forge with "In a Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew" way back in 1969/70 and is largely a notable success. Actually written by Danish trumpeter/composer Palle Mikkelborg it is written for large big band and electric ensemble with horns, keyboards,electric guitar and Miles' unique later period mute trumpet guesting.

as already hinted at the Lp is written as a loose suite for Miles in 10 different auara s ie colours or moods with a slow quiet start giving way to dynamic jazz rock and occasional avante-garde classical flourishes then differing colours progress through ambient, jazz rock, jazz funk, silent stillness and back. "aura" is largely a success with Miles trumpet playing on good form adding the required unique prescence on what might have been a fairly anonymous sounding Lp. Old alumni guitarist John McLaughlin also appears on a few tracks also adding much needed angular guitar flourishes to the sometimes slightly clunky 80s synthetic sounding rhythms in places.

what impresses overall though is the braveness of vision of "Aura" which Mikkelborg scoring a career coup securing Miles and McLaughlin to his suite here.

not perfect "Aura" is still a worthy Lp in Miles canon .
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lonniej on 21 July 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Perhaps the best album that Miles recorded in his later years. Half-way between his 'Tutu' jazz-funk and the sublime Gil Evans collaborations.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Adding Decoration to a Rainbow 5 Feb. 2005
By "Catbird" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Aura was composed by Palle Mikkelborg who was also the producer.

If one is familiar with Miles Davis' work, one will see that the

stages of color from white to purple relate to the stages of Miles' career, from BeBop to Cool to Orchestra to post-Bebop to

modal then electric, with the blues always remembered. The music chosen by Miles Davis to play over Palle Mikkelborg's orchestration is all imporvised, and meant to fit the portion of the era being

protrayed. ( Miles even was heard to say that Palle knew more about the history of Miles Davis's music than he did. And it

shows.)

The music is not easy to get into, it takes time to absorb.

It isn't like a four or five minute set of standards. It's a

complete concept, a tribute to Miles Davis and his music. The

presence of John McLaughlin adds to the flavor of a retrospective

and reminds us that this is a record looking back, performed by

musicians of the present--or the present when it was performed.

Miles made artistic decisions on the record, it wasn't all

a work scored that Miles would simply play on. In the manner of

Gil Evans, Mikkelborg wrote out the music for the orchestra but

left Miles to improvise the lead. One song has no Miles Davis

trumpet on it, Indigo, because Miles said the record was full

enough without his trumpet in it. That shows artistic integrity.

And he was right.

The record is different from his usual trumpet redordings

because he is fronting a huge orchestra. The Danish studio

orchestra of Copenhagen was playing the score, and there wasn't

the same sort of playing as one does with a small band. The

orchestra uses all the tricks ever used in a Miles Davis record,

from horn to synthesizers to electric bass. The ethereal sound

of much of the record helps to emphasize the trumpet solos that

Miles does in the space left open for them.

Each cut of the recording is strong enough to stand on its

own. The complete piece of music is a masterpiece of musical

engineering. It is not a piece that can be listened to as a

backgound to housework or reading. It must be actually listened

to and experienced. It is worthy of the five stars I have

given it.
Music, Miles, Math - which comes first? 14 Sept. 2013
By Zoink Doodle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Wow, the colors may, indeed, represent Miles' musical history, but on a purely formulate level, the chordal structures in the Primary colors are mixed and found in the complimentary, as in pigmented art, RYB POG (not art from light RGB).

On a pure "music-math" level, look at the track numbers. (This is not to minimize the 10 note serial approach to the composition, as listed in ALLMUSIC.com, each note having it's own color - where we get the added Electric Red - note how the electrice combines with the acoustic more so in balance than just the Red track! Amazing. Remember from Music classes, kids, serialism does not alway smean 12-tone! 12-tone is just one of many tome rows one can conjure)

Now, listen to the meter (and time signature) pulse of each track. Notice how track 1 has no real discernible time. Track two has a 2-feel. Track three is a waltz. 4 is rock. 5 is in 5/4 (trk 10 is in 10/8), trk 6 in 6/8 and at times also waltzish. And with some of the same musical melodic lines from the trk 3 waltz, just altered a bit.

And, yes, trk 7 is in 7, 8 in 8 (or a slow 4), 9 is in a combined 5-4, then 3-3-3,.

Trk 10 holds some of the same ethereal feel of 1, but now has an 10/4, sometimes borrowing from the trk 4+6 combined, then 6+4 time presented (that was barely implied in trk 1)

It's there, all there. Just listen. Again, and again, and yet again.

1 - "Intro" - 4:48
2 - "White" - 6:07
3 - "Yellow" - 6:55
4 - "Orange" - 8:41
5 - "Red" - 6:05
6 - "Green" - 8:13
7 - "Blue" - 6:36
8 - "Electric Red" - 4:19
9 - "Indigo" - 6:06
10 - "Violet" - 9:04

Primary Rainbow colors in order:
Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet
nteresting that while the colors of the rainbow are used to describe an imagined "Aura",
colors of an Aura are:

Made up, and unknown. Perhaps giving to the "out of order" colors as listed in track names.

Perhaps the piece names of the suite are out of order on purpose, to solicit a turn of the phrase "Out of chaos, comes order", but to arrive at that chaos, we must first name these tracks "out of order, comes chaos?" Could be just Mile's sense of humor or merely my play on words.
This Modern Classical Fusion IS a summation of Miles and his last GREAT work. 16 May 2008
By Sambson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mr. Schultz' excellent review is completely correct in the assessment of AURA following the phases of Miles' career. One thing for those who are fans of the "Jazz Miles" or the "Rock Miles" to remember, is that he had a massive appreciation for Classical music. His first big job was with Charlie Parker, whose Classical intake has been well documented. In the Sony/Columbia DVD, "The Miles Davis Story," Miles' second wife of ten years Frances Taylor, relates that Miles never listened to Jazz at home; only Classical. His daughter also names off several Classical composers she remembered him studying. Frankly, AURA having been shunned by the Jazz and Rock enthusiasts, has been pushed into the Classical category only by the addendum of the words Modern or Fusion. AURA is a unique mix of all these things, and the fact that Miles greatly enjoyed this project should grab any Miles fans' attention. Maybe you like him because he played Jazz, Fusion, or Rock; but there are those of us who liked Miles because he often took us to a place he knew about but we hadn't heard of, and AURA is one of those places. The track "Green," for instance, is an amazing piece of Miles, as he improvs over a new age keyboard that merely 'colors' the space and a tenuously connected chromatically arpegiating bass. Imagine "Green" without Miles, and you are left with superfluous nonsense. Now imagine him creating the lines he plays over that nonsense, turning it into something substantial and resounding. The same goes for the chimes at the end of "Blue," and the rest of this hour long piece of work. AURA is quite possibly the last GREAT album of his career, a chance for him to colaborate on a Modern Classical composition and a summation of all that came before. Viva Miles.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Quite good 16 Feb. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is not one of Miles' greatest albums, but it is a quality work. Miles plays really well, for the last time in his recorded career--all albums after this one had markedly worse playing by him. The compositions are interesting and there is an attempt to create artistic statements, which is also lacking in all of the albums after this one. Not all of the music works completely, but the failures on this album are those of an artist straining to achieve art, not the failures of later Miles albums which are the failures of a cynic who has abandoned any pretense at creating art. This album is often compelling and enjoyable to listen to, and in historic context, is the last gasp of Miles' career.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Unique beyond all criticism 12 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The reason that this album is important is because it is the ultimate introduction to Miles, and or jazz itself. Why? As a beginning jazz listenter, ever try to understand the connection between the title of a jazz piece and the piece itself? Ok. This cd provides for the listener a starting point, an elementary intro to musical/symbolic expressions, of the titles. We already know the sybolism of lets say, RED. How does a musician tell us of red without saying a word? This album is the closest most tangible connection to a physical painting, but you see, the music is the brush, and canvis is your mind. This is the ONLY album by Miles that has this easily accessable quality, it makes it unique. Unique beyond ALL criticism. Furthermore the playing by Miles is excellent, and equivilant to any of his other albums, because I've never heard Miles play anything but, EXCELLENT. Have you not heard Electric red?
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