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Porgy & Bess
 
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Porgy & Bess

17 Feb. 2011 | Format: MP3

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4:09
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3:38
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2:05
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3:21
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4:31
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4:42
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4:07
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6:16
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4:25
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1:20
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3:42
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3:26
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 17 Feb. 2011
  • Release Date: 17 Feb. 2011
  • Label: SINETONE AMR
  • Copyright: 2011 Sinetone AMR
  • Total Length: 50:54
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B004PN1L6K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 285,225 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By MikeG on 4 Mar. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Of the handful of albums Miles made with the composer/arranger Gil Evans, Porgy and Bess may or may not be the best, but it’s in a class of its own. The music of Gershwin’s groundbreaking folk-jazz opera inspired Evans to some of his most imaginative scoring, drawing a rich tapestry of sounds and effects from a jazz orchestra which, with the more traditional big band instrumentation, blends the additional colouring of tuba, French horns and flutes. On many of the tracks the orchestrations seem to take precedence over Miles’s solos, and some of the material (like “Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess”) lends itself more to “interpretation” than to jazz improvisation as such. So it’s an album that will appeal most to those listeners who are as interested in Evans’s work as in that of Miles the soloist.
At its best, though, the collaboration between Miles and the orchestrations produces some wonderful music. The masterpiece is “Summertime”, which reconstructs the famous operatic lullaby using a gospel-style ‘call and response’ structure. Over a perfectly judged slow walking pace set by bass and drums, the orchestra plays a repeated six-note ‘response’ phrase which Evans subtly varies with changes of voicing and instrumentation. Above this, on muted trumpet, Miles floats a series of inspired, though essentially simple, variations on the melody. The opening statement of Gershwin’s theme uses fragments of the well-known melody in a hint of a declamatory style, as if Miles is giving the ‘call’ to which the orchestra ‘responds’. If that sounds at all complicated, the effect is actually very simple, and as direct in its appeal as any piece of music can be.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 April 2001
Format: Audio CD
Everybody has their own favourite Miles Davis album - whether it is the improvised modal explorations of "Kind Of Blue", the cut-and-paste new directions of "Bitches Brew", or the sharp bebop bursts of "Birth Of The Cool". My personal favourite is Miles and Gil Evans' wonderful arrangement of Gershwin's "Porgy & Bess". Miles' trumpet soars through "Summertime" and "It Ain't Necessarily So", showing that even within a written score he could always find room to move and make a song his own. Gil Evans' arrangements, almost too good to be called jazz in some ways, are reminiscent both of the old dancehall bands and of Duke Ellington's orchestras. The collective personnel includes Cannonball Adderley, Gunther Schuller, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, and this helps explain why, on the likes of "Prayer" and "Gone", the orchestra is so much more than just the background to Miles' trumpet. The score ends with the rousing and celebratory "There's A Boat That's Leaving Soon For New York", and you can almost hear them dancing in the studio. The album simply sounds fresh every time I play it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R Jess on 24 Nov. 2004
Format: Audio CD
The great thing about Miles Davis was that his trumpet playing was so transcendent. He's probably the only jazz player whose albums frequently appear in top 100 rock lists. I fail to see how anyone could not take the lilting sentiments of 'Porgy & Bess' to heart no matter what your musical tastes.
The 'Buzzard Song' opens the album with a grooving bass line by Paul Chambers, cleverly imitated by a tuba that follows suit (how many albums have you heard with a grooving tuba?). Then the lyrical note changes of 'Bess, You Is My Woman', before one of the highlights of the album, 'Gone'. This is something of a departure from Gershwin's opera itself, but the backing players relish the opportunity for some pure jazz playing, topped off with Jones's ramshakle drum playing. The power of 'Summertime' has much to do with its basic composition, which is at once both strong and tender and lends itself to so many interpretations. On this version the musical backing acts as a counter to Davis's elegant soloing. 'Oh Bess, where's my Bess' proves to be the most uplifting of these tracks while 'Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)' contains character-filled contributions from all the players building to a monumental crescendo.
'Fisherman....' begins with the evocative alto flute of Danny Banks, floating above a slight air of menance in the backing arrangement. The straining lament of 'My Man's Gone Now' is followed by the great toe-tapping swing arrangement of 'It Ain't Necessarily So'. Gil Evans arrangements do much to colour Davis's trumpet playing as in 'Here Comes de Honey Man'.
The final highlight 'There's A Boat Leaving Soon For New York' sounds unstoppable and effusive, a clear joy for all involved. Each individual player becomes Miles Davis's equal in this explosive finale. Again I have to mention the universal appeal of Miles Davis's work, whether indulging in a simple, lazy melody or bringing subtle nuances to the fore, his playing is wonderfully haunting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
In one of the short essays printed in the CD booklet-insert, Bill Kirchner writes: "In 20th century American music, three partnerships have been most influential: Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn, Frank Sinatra/Nelson Riddle, and Miles Davis/Gil Evans."

It's no exaggeration to state that Miles Davis was in many ways the 20th century's musical equivalent of Picasso: always the innovator, pushing the boundaries of hitherto unexplored landscapes to expand what we accept as art, disregarding convention and rewriting the rules. The musical marriage with Gil Evans' structured but often radical orchestral arrangements provided the near-perfect canvas for Miles' trumpet to paint its expressive, minimalist, striking colors with bold but often melancholy brush strokes. Chalk and cheese they may have been, but together cooked up something magical. In addition they were close lifelong friends.

From first to last, the result of their collaboration in reworking Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" has a serious core. The mood evoked is on the whole not joyous; it has a melancholy heart and minor keys predominate. Evans' brass-dominated orchestrations are the antithesis of smooth and restful: they are often jarring, discordant, disturbing, and work perfectly in setting the tone.
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