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Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain CD (album) cover

SKETCHES OF SPAIN

Miles Davis

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.90 | 104 ratings

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Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The beginning of symphonic prog as we know it?

Probably. Symphonic progressive rock (as I understand it) is little more than rock with heavy classical influence and some jazz ideas. SKETCHES OF SPAIN has none of the rock and lots more jazz, but it sounds more classical than jazz to my ears. Possibly because Gil Evans had more to do with the writing than Davis did (or at least, that's what the credits suggest). Davis still puts effort into this release as the main trumpet parts have his unique style of playing; the man could communicate emotions with the trumpet better than most any other instrumentalist or vocalist that I know of.

The title has the word ''Sketches'' in it, and I often go to the shorter tracks (which I refer to as the sketches) as opposed to the longer pieces, but a good chunk of Evans's compositions (the last three) really hold up well. For instance, ''The Pan Piper'' is astoundingly gorgeous; the last half of it is one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever heard from any artist or composer. ''Saeta'' is another strong piece that sounds as if the matador is entering the bullring. The twelve-minute ''Solea'' sounds like a piece that could be played for the King of Spain, but it is a tad too long. The big ''Concerto de Aranjuez'' sadly didn't really meet my expectations; it is a nice classical adaptation that runs a little too long for what it's trying to do.

If you have any interest in symphonic prog, this might have an outside chance of making regular rotations in your album deck. It's jazz with heavy classical influence. I don't think it's as strong of an album as some of Davis's other works which explains (or excuses, whichever word you're more comfortable using) the nonchalant rating. Overall, SKETCHES OF SPAIN is a nice album that's missing more of Davis's touch and some oomph in the compositions.

Sinusoid | 3/5 |

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