The Miles Davis and Gil Evans: Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (320 Kbs 6 cd box)
The success rate of Miles Davis and Gil Evans astounds-their first three albums, Miles Ahead, Porgy And Bess and Sketches Of Spain, are masterpieces, monuments in the history of recorded jazz. All of their collaborations are important and will remain influential. Newly remixed from the original session tapes, this set brings to light the natural sonic beauty of the music as originally recorded, and digs further into the making of these complex masterpieces. In addition to alternate takes and later sessions, producer Phil Schaap has unearthed telling rehearsal sequences and overdub sessions that bring the listener into the process.
Disc One introduces the original Miles Ahead Lp in stereo for the first time, despite failed attempts to reissue the album in its original form and assertions that the raw material did not exist to rebuild this heavily-edited work in stereo. Following the original masters is the entire suite repeated in alternate takes, mostly unissued.
The original Porgy And Bess begins Disc Two. It is followed by a set of alternate takes which appear, unlike the album, in operatic order. These bonus tracks are framed by alternate takes of Gil Evans' "Gone".
Sketches Of Spain occupies Disc Three. Following the album, bonus tracks are framed by two takes of "Song Of Our Country", a related piece belatedly issued on a 1981 anthology.
Disc Four begins with the six Evans/Davis recordings that made up the bulk of the Quiet Nights Lp, followed by a unique sextet session with Bob Dorough. Two previously unissued sessions, which have been the subject of much speculation over the years, follow. "The Time Of The Barracudas" was written and recorded by Miles and Gil as music to accompany a stage presentation of Peter Barnes' play of the same name. Although this original version of the suite is released here for the first time, the score did give birth to two Gil Evans classics, "Hotel Me" and "General Assembly". The exotic "Falling Water" from 1968 is the last orchestral studio collaboration by Davis and Evans. Its unusual instrumentation was revived later that year for their legendary Berkeley Jazz Festival appearance.
The remainder of Disc Four brings us back to the beginning with alternate takes from the Miles Ahead sessions. Their inclusion covers musical fragments used in the two previous CD attempts to reissue the original album. Rather than duplicate any editing that was not part of the original, the complete performances of the takes used to make those hybrid versions are issued here.
Disc Five is essentially the making of Miles Ahead with more takes, illuminating rehearsals and studio discussions that Schaap uncovered in his quest to do the near impossible-give us the original Miles Ahead in stereo. Disc Six features the final piece of the Miles Ahead puzzle, the session at which Miles overdubs his flugelhorn on sections of four masters from the album. This is followed by rehearsal material and more alternate takes from Porgy And Bess. The set closes with a return to Sketches Of Spain, Miles' favorite. The highlight is a version of "Concierto De Aranjuez", with Gil conducting and Miles just listening.