For Miles completists only,
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This review is from: Quiet Nights (Audio CD)
I have to admit - and I realise that to many this is sacrilege - that I've never really understood why Miles Davis & Gil Evans' collaborations have the reputation they do. There are some good bits on Miles Ahead and Porgy & Bess, but for the most part I find them all rather bland. Compared to, for example, the 1960s Jazz suites of Duke Ellington, Evans' arrangements seem like an an uneasy synthesis of Big-Band-Jazz and classical music that's doesn't particularly play to the strengths of either genre.
With this in mind it's perhaps inevitable that I've little good to say about Quiet Nights, Davis & Evans' fourth and final collaborative album, generally regarded - when it's even remembered at all - as one of the low points of the Davis canon. Neither Davis nor Evans had intended Quiet Nights to be released (at least, in this form) and it seems to make little sense as an album The 'suite' itself - if it can be called that - is just a sequence of bland, anonymous, vaguely latin-flavoured tracks that finish before they go anywhere, barely amounting to 20 minutes of music (perhaps Evans had intended to write some faster, longer pieces to fit between them?).
The two bonus tracks are generally better than the album itself, although not so much as to redeem it. 'Summer Night' is an out-take from the session that produced Miles' album 'Seven Steps to Heaven' and has nothing to do with Gil Evans nor with this album's bossa-nova concept. It's a reasonable track but it doesn't really belong here and is actually present on CDs of Seven Steps to Heaven (it's on mine, anyway), which is obviously its proper context. The second bonus track, "The Time of the Barracudas", was another Evans-Davis collaboration that's actually better than Quiet Nights, although here again the sections end before they really get going (although it's programmed as a single 13-minute track, 'Barracudas' is actually a suite of 5-6 separate pieces).
So there's nothing really worth having here, from most peoples' perspective. Buy it if you want to complete a Miles Davis collection, or if you absolutely loved the 3 famous Evans-Davis collaborations and want to hear more, although be prepared to be disappointed if you're expecting the same quality here. One suspects that Miles' heart simply wasn't in this.