CD Miles Ahead [Gil Evans/Miles Davis]  (CD 6309835),
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Miles Ahead [Gil Evans/Miles Davis] 
Gil Evans/Miles Davis
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2869169
Personnel: Miles Davis (flugelhorn); Gil Evans (arranger, conductor); Lee Konitz (alto saxophone); Taft Jordan, Ernie Royal, Bernie Glow, John Carisi, Louis Mucci (trumpet); Jimmy Cleveland, Frank Rehak, Joe Bennett (trombone); Tom Mitchell (bass trombone); Willie Ruff, Tony Miranda, Jimmy Buffington (French horn); Bill Barber (tuba); Romeo Penque (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe); Sid Cooper, Eddie Caine (flute, clarinet); Danny Bank (bass clarinet); Wynton Kelly (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Art Taylor (drums).
Recorded at the Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York, New York between May 6 and August 22, 1957.
Miles Davis was part of a circle of musicians drawn to arranger Gil Evans' charts for Claude Thornhill's Orchestra--his lovely palette of woodwinds and deep brass, his way of voicing chords and accenting rhythms. Beginning with their innovative collaboration on BIRTH OF THE COOL, they created a luminous body of work, as Gil Evans played Billy Strayhorn to Miles' Duke Ellington.
Beginning with MILES AHEAD, and continuing through works such as PORGY AND BESS, SKETCHES OF SPAIN, AT CARNEGIE HALL and QUIET NIGHTS they cultivated a cool attitude that defined jazz in popular consciousness. This is the second CD release of MILES AHEAD (look for the Legacy logo), and this edition returns to the original mono master takes, proceeding as one uninterrupted work--a concerto for flugelhorn soloist and mixed brass, woodwinds and rhythm.
The jaunty brass counterpoint and contrary motion of "Springsville" launches Miles in full flight, descending into the gossamer Iberian shadings of "The Maids Of Cadiz." Shadowed by flutes, French horns and a dancing tuba, Miles celebrates Brubeck's lovely anthem "The Duke" with spacious lyric grace. The gorgeous soft chords of "My Ship" and the burnished deep brass of the title tune suggest how completely Evans transformed big band voicings (much as Ellington did), while the introspective manner in which Miles phrases suggests Billie Holiday. Evans' meandering "Blues For Pablo," which alternates between blues and flamenco-styled themes and the swinging stop time of Ahmad Jamal's "New Rhumba" form the emotional centerpiece of this otherwordly recital, concluding with a bracing brass cry so typical of earlier dance bands.
Down Beat (12/12/57) - 4 1/2 Stars - Very Good Plus - "...a remarkably flexible set of scores, written with a suppleness, fluidity, and skill that should immediately bring Gil Evans to the front rank of contemporary jazz writers and long due...The handling of the brass, with its muttering, spouting, rolling figures is a thing of liveliness that grows with each hearing...."
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