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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
77
4.3 out of 5 stars
Sketches Of Spain
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Price:£4.95


on 23 August 2017
Wow! So relaxing. So much feeling. I also have the superb Pepe Romero recording of the actual 'Concierto de Aranjuez', if I had to give up one of them it would be the the Miles Davis I kept.
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on 19 September 2017
Beautiful arrangements by Gil Evans and Miles Davis is one of the most distinctive voices in jazz who can imbue the simplest of note sequences with aching emotion and aural perfection.
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on 2 July 2017
Really pleased with purchase. Prompt dispatch. Great selection of classic performances.
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on 18 November 2017
Having seen this album mentioned in The Shot (Philip Kerr), I ordered it and was blown away by its sparse beauty. I was already familiar with the guitar originals, but the trumpet-led jazz versions are something else.

My first ever Miles Davis albu, since when I've already bought my second...
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on 15 March 2017
Outstanding
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on 25 June 2017
beautiful versions, brilliant sounds
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on 29 August 2017
Absolute classic, if you're a budding enthusiast or a seasoned jazz pro, this album is one of the best!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 January 2011
"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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on 16 March 2005
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. Enter Miles Davis.
Davis adapted the guitar solo to trumpet and created yet another kind of ethereal music. For his original guitar composition, Rodrigo balanced the gentle tones of the solo instrument with orchetral brass .... which often plays dissonant chords, but with soft understatement. What Davis produced is not simply transposing guitar to trumpet and the symphonic orchestral parts to a large brass section. Rather, Davis created a new sound by fusing American jazz styles with Spanish undertones. Rather than softening the brass so as not to drown out the acoustic guitar, the volume was raised in Davis' rendition and now the powerful solo trumpet carries on a dialog with an occasionally competing, and at other times counterpointal, brass section.
I imagine that when Rodrigo wrote Concierto de Aranjuez, he couldn't have imagined how far removed from his native Spain this music would travel ... reinterpreted by the American jazz world. But there it is. Had Narciso Yepes never played the concerto and the world only heard Miles Davis' rendition then the world would still have been quite happy. But now there are both kinds of music, and the lucky listener can decide to move between the two worlds of Davis and Yepes. What a triumph for modern music!
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on 14 August 2008
I originally bought this album as a boxed set of three LP's, Kind of Blue, Porgy and Bess were the other two. It tends to be loathed by "true believers" largely, I think, because it was one of the most popular. Therefore: it was a sore trial to the sort of deaf elitists that you find at Jazz and Orchestral music events. (People who clap harder as the music gets worse.)

It does have it's faults, the over use of castanets, which is like adding atmosphere with ketchup. The gushing orchestration which pervades the collection like cheap perfume in dance-hall. Occasional shrieking trumpet - where MD definitely looses the thread.

It's still a great album and well worth a listen. It maybe the weakest of the three albums mentioned. It's still worth five stars.
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