Saturday, November 6, 2010

Miles Davis/Gil Evans

Miles Davis/Gil Evans -Sketches of Spain- by Lew Soloff/Steve Richman & the Harmonie Ensemble
    The illustrious George Avakian posed the question, "why record a new version of a landmark LP album?"
    Kudos to Mr. Avakian but the retort is a resounding, Why Not?
    Indeed Sketches of Spain is a masterwork that blurred categories of both jazz and European classical music. And to this date no one has dared ventured its pithy harmonies and sanguine peaks and valleys. Just as many works of the European classical masters are redone, replayed and re-hashed yearly why not the masterpiece Sketches of Spain be accorded the same long overdue honor.
    One can think of a litany of trumpeters who might have filled the Miles delegate bill. Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Jon Faddis....Yet it is Lou Soloff, hands down one of the finest trumpeters living today. Soloff is in fine form doing an admirable job over and above board, transforming the solo improvs as his own. Soloff does not in any way ape the Miles Davis sound vacuum, while a well meaning acolyte might have done so. Which is no slight to Davis. In fact, one could imagine a wild card such as Wadada Leo Smith performing an even pithier enactment. Couldn't one? 
    After the initial listening one is left panting for more. In fact, if Master Evans were alive today who knows if he would not have re-investigated even newer music out of which Sketches sprang forth? This is music that begs for more. A hallmark recording.