Porgy & Bess [VINYL] Import
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fabulous album.the old standard summertime has never sounded better. Great mood music from miles.Published 1 month ago by Mr Michael Tolley
excellent, I had checked out the positive reviews beforehand and was not disappointed.Published 12 months ago by billy babbitt
Great stuff from two of the best performers of the twentieth century. Ella's great voice and range complimented by Louis gruff voice and superb trumpet playing make this a must... Read morePublished 20 months ago by robert james adams
A classic from a long time ago. Could have included some other takes and versions from the session if they're available.Published on 10 July 2013 by D. Downes
Although this guy has been around for so many years I am just getting into his music and am thoroughly enjoying this disc, possibly
because this is one of my favourite... Read more
these two might have been made for each other. Miles Davis and the wonderful Gershwin, Porgy and Bess.
stunning arrangement, beautiful performance, buy it and enjoy.
Powerful , haunting , emotional , happy , sad. Porgy & Bess offers something for everyone. Well worth the money. Read morePublished on 25 April 2013 by Warren