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Quiet Nights gets a muted reception but is saved by the Barracudas,
This review is from: Quiet Nights (Audio CD)
The common view about `Quiet Nights' among Miles fans is that his peerless legacy might have been even better had it not been released.
It's hard to dissent from this view, except to say the result is in no way `bad' music, though admittedly not amongst Davis's best. This final major-project collaboration between Miles and Gil Evans was an attempt to make a Bossa Nova-themed album - very trendy in 1962 - to capture the feel of Brazil the way `Sketches of Spain' captured the musical heart of the Iberian Peninsula to perfection. QN certainly doesn't stand shoulder to shoulder with `Miles Ahead', `Porgy & Bess' or `Sketches of Spain' but it does have its moments, especially the opener `Song Number 2'.
The original release had an `unfinished' feel because it WAS unfinished: the studio rushed it into the market to catch the popular bossa-nova fad in the US in 1963 before Miles and Gil could really round it off; and was only around 30 minutes long. Miles is on record as being dissatisfied with the whole process, and the result. However, on this release we get two bonus tracks, neither of which have much to do with bossa nova but which nevertheless make the album more worthwhile. The first is `Summer Night', a Dubin composition left over from the `Seven Steps to Heaven' sessions (one of Miles' underrated gems) featuring Ron Carter, Frank Butler and Victor Feldman - a cool and mellow number befitting the title. The second is by common consent the best track here and the saving grace of this collection: `The Time of the Barracudas', a 13-minute suite with several sections originally put together as the soundtrack for a play, a quintessential Davis-Evans collaborative effort with fine orchestrations and beautiful melodic playing.
Of course, if you're a Miles fan you have to have it in the collection. Though (maybe like `Tutu' and `Doo-Bop' and a few other less-than-satisfactory releases) this is not amongst Miles' most enduring works, it's still music by Miles Davis and it definitely has its moments.