To many are available annotating the importance of this recording. The musical and social impact of Miles Davis, his collaborative efforts with Gil Evans, and in particular their reinvention of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess are indeed profound.
However, the most efficient method of extricating the rhetoric and opining is to experience the recording. Few other musical teams would have had the ability to remain true to the undiluted spirit and multifaceted nuance of this epic work. However, no other musical teams were Miles Davis and Gil Evans. It was Evans' intimate knowledge of the composition as well as the performer that allowed him to so definitively capture the essence of both.
The four dates needed to complete work on Porgy and Bess include contributions from several members of his most recent musical aggregate: Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto sax), Paul Chambers (bass), and Jimmy Cobb (drums). Although the focus and emphasis is squarely on Davis throughout, the contributions of the quartet on "Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)," "I Loves You, Porgy," and "There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New York" are immeasurable. They provide a delicate balance in style and, under the direction of Evans, incorporate much of the same energy and intonation here as they did to their post-bop recordings.
There is infinitely more happening on Porgy and Bess, however, with much of the evidence existing in the subtle significance of the hauntingly lyrical passages from Danny Banks' (alto flute) solos, which commence on "Fishermen, Strawberry and Devil Crab." Or the emotive bass and tuba duet that runs throughout "Buzzard Song." The impeccable digital remastering and subsequent CD reissue -- which likewise applies to the Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings box set -- only magnifies the refulgence of Porgy and Bess. Likewise, two previously unissued performances have been appended to the original baker's dozen. No observation or collection of American jazz can be deemed complete without this recording.
1 The Buzzard Song
2 Bess, You Is My Woman Now
4 Gone, Gone, Gone
6 Oh Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?
7 Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)
8 Fisherman, Strawberry and Devil Crab
9 My Man's Gone Now
10 It Ain't Necessarily So
11 Here Come de Honey Man
12 I Loves You, Porgy
13 There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New York
14 I Loves You, Porgy [Take 1, Second Version]
15 Gone [Take 4]
Miles Davis Flugelhorn, Performer, Trumpet
Cannonball Adderley Sax (Alto), Saxophone
Danny Bank Clarinet (Bass), Flute (Alto), Sax (Baritone)
Danny Banks Saxophone
Billy Barber Tuba
John Barber Tuba
Joseph Bennett Trombone
Phil Bodner Clarinet, Flute, Flute (Alto)
Paul Chambers Bass
Jimmy Cleveland Trombone
Jimmy Cobb Drums
Johnny Coles Trumpet
Bernie Glow Trumpet
Dick Hixon Trombon
Philly Joe Jones Drums
Louis Mucci Trumpet
Romeo Penque Clarinet, Flute, Flute (Alto)
Frank Rehak Trombone
Jerome Richardson Clarinet, Flute, Flute (Alto)
Ernie Royal Trumpet
Willie Ruff French Horn
Gunther Schuller French Horn
Julius Watkins French Horn
Gil Evans Arranger, Conductor, Orchestra
All come with jewel case, liner booklet and the CD disc itself. And this one remains factory sealed.
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