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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DAVIS' BRASS RENDITION OF RODRIGO'S CONCERTO IS PERFECT
The first time I heard Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo for Spanish guitar and symphonic orchestra it was performed by virtuoso Narciso Yepes. It was the most incredible music I had heard, decades ago. The world agreed because since Yepes first recorded Rodrigo's concerto four decades ago literally hundreds of different artists recorded this ethereal music...
Published on 16 Mar 2005 by F. Sweet

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Great music, poor quality mp3s
The sound quality of these mp3s is terrible. It sounds as though they have been poorly mastered, and as a result they peak and distort unless they are listened to at very quiet volumes (too quiet to enjoy). I recommend buying the C.D. instead.
Published 2 months ago by S C Kenward


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5.0 out of 5 stars Miles' and Gil's Iberian Excursion, 9 Jan 2011
By 
The Guardian (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sketches Of Spain (Audio CD)
"Sketches of Spain" recorded in 1959-60 was the third project resulting from the long collaboration between Miles Davis and innovative master of orchestral arrangements Gil Evans. The album explores the musical styles of the Iberian Peninsula and has a distinctive feel quite different from any of Miles' other work, often described as something of a musical landmark. A listener familiar with classical music who has never been able to connect with jazz might find this collection an immediately accessible gateway.

The opener is an extended re-interpretation of the second movement of J. Roderigo's modern impressionist-classical piece "Concierto di Aranjuez", which Miles listened to repeatedly in 1959 and declared "I couldn't get it out of my mind." Gil's orchestration for an ensemble of brass and woodwind anchors the melody, is faithful to Roderigo's score and captures the spirit of the original to perfection. It is more classical (i.e. rigid) in structure than normally found in jazz, allowing only constrained improvisation around the melody. In re-interpreting the original score for the guitar, Miles responds to the more formalised framework with understated mastery and works with the orchestra to fine result: a satisfying and distinctive mood-piece which lingers in the memory. Roderigo, by the way, didn't like it: the brass-dominated orchestral sound too much of a departure from his vision; the absence of the Spanish guitar at the heart of the piece, and the second movement of the concerto removed from the context of the faster and more upbeat first and third movements not at all to the composer's taste. However, in the context of the other pieces on Miles and Gil's "Sketches of Spain" it fits perfectly and sets the mood.

Three shorter pieces, "Will o' the Wisp", "The Pan Piper" and "Saeta" follow, each different but blending seamlessly with "Aranjuez" in style and confirming the mood. The long closer, "Solea" (12.08) is an attention-grabber grounded on Gil's spellbinding percussion-dominated orchestration, an invitation to which Miles responds with intelligence and expressive sensitivity to weave a fine tapestry filled with moments of tension and delight, still in the Iberian mode.

"Sketches of Spain" is a fine album, distinctive and special, which should never be absent from any serious collection of Miles Davis' key works. Even if you're not really a fan of jazz in general or of Miles in particular but love the Concierto di Aranjuaz or the music of Spain, consider making an exception and adding it to your collection. For a Miles Davis fan, it's indispensable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars miles ahead, 24 Feb 2010
By 
Ms. Keely Mills "lukuslukus9" (Peterborugh, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sketches Of Spain (Audio CD)
love this album, very unique sound, and very different to Miles's
other stuff. Great atmosphere. Storytelling with sound.
Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably brilliant, 15 Oct 2009
By 
D. Murdoch - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sketches Of Spain (Audio CD)
I discovered this recently and it is just breath taking. I am not a great Miles Davis fan, but this is unlike anything I have heard of his before, I assume that is down to Gil Evans arrangements. I would even recommend this to people who are not jazz fans. It has such a strong atmosphere and is a real listening experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars utterly, utterly sublime, 14 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Sketches of Spain (Audio CD)
if you ever cared about music, (forget about labels like 'Jazz', orchestral or otherwise) you need this record like oxygen. Once heard, never forgotten.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Its jazz-tastic!!!!!!!, 26 Oct 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Sketches of Spain (Audio CD)
This is without doubt one of miles's top albums. Words will never do this collection justice.Davis is a genius
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Miles fuses the sounds of Spain with American Jazz, 19 Mar 2007
This review is from: Sketches of Spain (Audio CD)
Sketches of Spain is one of my favorite of Miles Davis' fusion works. Here, he fuses the sounds of Spain with American Jazz. It's not nearly as radical as much of his fusion work, but it's not likely to be heard on an elevator either. If you've enjoyed Miles' easiest-to-listen-to-albums (for example, Kind of Blue, Birth of the Cool), and you want to be challenged just a little more, take a listen to Sketches of Spain.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hugely under-rated and moving album, 27 Mar 2006
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sketches of Spain (Audio CD)
Miles Davis is now a much under-rated musician. Listen to this recording and you'll see what I mean. His musical fragments complement the pieces greatly. He is definitely warming up to new styles and Sketches, based on much earlier classical compositions, is testimony to this.
Some suggest that Miles was moving into "fragmentation and incoherance" however during the sixties and seventies Miles was making his most innovative strides as an artist. This fragmented playing styles was a real leap of faith on Mile's part and was avante-Jazz blending with classical. In 20 years real musicians will be rediscovering Miles, just as they did 20 years after the release of Sketches.
Dont take my word for it, listen to this cd. Buy it and ask your local library to buy two copies.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Personal opinion, 28 July 2009
By 
This review is from: Sketches Of Spain (Audio CD)
Very good. Normally I am not too fond of what I call "sweet jazz" but this was very listenable.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles out on a Limb, 13 Dec 2004
By 
N Stubbs (Stoke on Trent) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sketches of Spain (Audio CD)
Your view of Sketches is likely to be coloured by your view as Davis as an artist. More than any other jazz musician, he demands the listener pays attention to him as a personality - not just listen to the notes he and his bands are playing. With Sketches, maybe because of the orchestration of the pieces, this can be difficult to do - Davis as a man is far less evident (or at least less obvious) here than any other work of the period.
Knowledge of his comtemporaneous albums such as Milestones, Kind of Blue and, of course, Porgy and Bess will give the listener a better idea of how this music fits into Miles' catelogue. Davis (and Evans) probably put more work into this than anything else and this careful, considered approach - which is totally opposite to say, Kind of Blue - may have sucked some of his personality out of the tracks but has lead to the creation of some beautifully crafted tunes.
What Davis did was, despite the success of Porgy and his sextet, a risky move - going out on a limb to make music that was neither hip (until he made it hip) nor an ingrained part of american culture. You can see Sketches as 'elevator music' (as the official reveiwer quotes) or you can see it as another outstanding and astonishing change of direction for the worlds most influential jazz musician. Which camp are you in?
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31 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sorry..., 31 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Sketches of Spain (Audio CD)
When I got into Miles via Kind of Blue like everyone else, I obviously wanted to hear more, I don't know where the idea came from but I seemed to think that Sketches... was the next Miles record you were meant to get. Lots of other people tell me they have the same impression and I have no idea why!
Miles is my favourite artist of all time, the man is a genius with few equals, but this whole Gil Evans thing is totally lost on me. Porgy and Bess is amazing, but do the words George and Gershwin mean anything to you? ;-) On Sketches, the orchestra sound like they have only just got up, which more or less matches the music they're playing. I think they sound like they know they're about to get busted, but by the end of the record - they've got away with it! On the Corner might have been a better name for this record, Miles sounds to me like he's kicking his heels on a street corner - and not in a good way... maybe Spain is just a really dull place and this music is a perfect evocation of it, but I doubt very much thats how it is.
This isn't Miles' worst record - but it probably is the worst of his well known ones - when you think of Birth of the Cool, Silent Way, all his stuff with the 2 great quintets, and the staggering planet sized things he was cooking up until he retired mid 70's etc etc it just isn't as fun to listen to, or as moving.
2 stars might be harsh, but if you are thinking of getting a second Miles record and are looking at this one with interest, i'd go for Newport 58 if you want something like Kind of Blue, Bitches Brew if you want to start on the scary heavy stuff (it got a lot scarier and heavier, though!), In a Silent Way if you want to hear another side of him totally, Complete Live at The Plugged Nickel if you want to spend a month in a box set because you spent all your money on it, or if you want an Evans/Davis orchestral one, at least let George Gershwin take care of the non-trumpet stuff and dig in to Porgy and Bess.
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