Miles Ahead

Miles Ahead

by Miles DavisMiles Davis

CD

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Overview

This album is perhaps most significant for the process it set in motion -- the collaboration between Gil Evans and Miles Davis that would produce Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain, two of Davis' best albums. That said, this album is a miracle in itself, the result of a big gamble on the part of Columbia Records, who put together Evans and Davis, who hadn't worked together since recording the critically admired but commercially unsuccessful sides that would later be issued as The Birth of the Cool. Columbia also allowed Evans to assemble a 19-piece band for the recordings, at a time when big bands were far out of fashion and also at a time when the resulting recordings could not be released until two years in the future (because of Davis' contractual obligations with Prestige). Davis was also expected to carry the album as its only soloist, and manage not to get lost among a cast of supporting musicians that included a huge horn section. To a large extent, he succeeds. Evans' arrangements in particular are well-suited to the format, and he and Davis formed a deep and close partnership where ideas were swapped back and forth, nurtured, and developed long before they were expressed in the studio. Davis gets off to a great start, with the hyper-kinetic "Springsville," which seems to almost perfectly embody Evans' and Davis' partnership with its light, flexible exchanges between soloist and orchestra. He is strongest on the ballads, though, where his subdued and wistful tone rises high above the hushed accompaniment, especially on "Miles Ahead" and "Blues for Pablo" (which foreshadows the bluesy, Latin-tinged sound of Sketches of Spain). The upbeat "I Don't Want to Be Kissed (By Anyone but You)" is another strong song, but shows the weakness of the format as Davis intersperses a charming, bright, technically challenging solo with a blasting horn section that occasionally buries him. It is a fine end, however, to an album that gave a hint of the greatness that would come as Evans and Davis fine-tuned their partnership over the course of the next several years.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/14/2013
Label: Sony Uk
UPC: 0886974919728
catalogNumber: 7491972
Rank: 2547

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Miles Davis   Primary Artist,Trumpet,Flageolet,Flugelhorn
Walter Bishop   Piano
Jimmy Cleveland   Trombone
Philly Joe Jones   Drums
Wynton Kelly   Piano
Lee Konitz   Alto Saxophone
John Lewis   Piano
Charles Mingus   Piano
Max Roach   Drums
Sonny Rollins   Tenor Saxophone
Horace Silver   Piano
Art Taylor   Drums
Taft Jordan   Trumpet
Frank Rehak   Trombone
Ernie Royal   Trumpet
Joe Bennett   Trombone
Percy Heath   Bass
Willie Ruff   Horn,French Horn
Danny Bank   Bass Clarinet
Billy Barber   Tuba
Art Blakey   Drums
James Buffington   Horn,French Horn
Eddie Caine   Clarinet,Flute
Johnny Carisi   Trumpet
Paul Chambers   Bass
Sid Cooper   Bass,Clarinet,Flute
Gil Evans   Conductor
Bernie Glow   Trumpet
Tony Miranda   Horn,French Horn
Thomas Mitchell   Trombone,Bass Trombone
Louis Mucci   Trumpet
Charlie Parker   Tenor Saxophone
Romeo Penque   Bass,Clarinet,Flute,Oboe
Tommy Mitchell   Bass,Trombone,Bass Trombone
James Jordan   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Andre Hodeir   Liner Notes
George Avakian   Producer,Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Gil Evans   Arranger,Director
J.J. Johnson   Composer
Cal Lampley   Producer
Fred Plaut   Engineer
Phil Schaap   Producer,Liner Notes
Allen Weinberg   Art Direction
Tom "Curly" Ruff   Engineer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Paul M. Martin   Art Direction
Harold Chapman   Engineer
Harold Spina   Composer
André Hodier   Liner Notes
David Noakes   translation
John M. Elliott   Composer

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