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Music / Sketches of Spain

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Sketches of Spain (1960) is a famous and popular album by jazz legend Miles Davis. It won a Grammy Award in 1961 for "Best Original Jazz Composition" and is widely seen as one his best records. The record was listed at nr. #358 in Rolling Stone's Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It is one of the most famous and highly regarded "third stream" (i.e., fusions between jazz and classical music) albums ever recorded, along with Charles Mingus' The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and Let My Children Hear Music.

Tracklist

Side One

  1. "Concierto de Aranjuez (Adagio)" (16:19)
  2. "Will o' the Wisp" (3:47)

Side Two

  1. "The Pan Piper" (3:52)
  2. "Saeta" (5:06)
  3. "Solea" (12:15)

Personnel

  • Miles Davis: trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Johnny Coles, Bernie Glow, Taft Jordan, Louis Mucci, Ernie Royal: trumpet
  • Dick Hixon, Frank Rehak: trombone
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  • Harold Feldman: clarinet, flute, oboe
  • Danny Bank: bass clarinet
  • Jack Knitzer: bassoon
  • Bill Barber, Jimmy McAllister: tuba
  • John Barrows, James Buffington, Earl Chapin, Tony Miranda, Joe Singer: French horn
  • Albert Block: flute
  • Eddie Caine: flute, flugelhorn
  • Paul Chambers: bass
  • Romeo Penque: oboe
  • Janet Putnam: harp
  • Jimmy Cobb: drums
  • Elvin Jones, Jose Mangual: percussion
  • Gil Evans: arranger, conductor


Tropes of Spain:

  • Alliterative Title: "Sketches of Spain", "Will o' the Wisp", "The Pan Piper".
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Saeta" and "Solea" are Spanish concepts.
  • Concept Album: All the tracks have a Spanish atmosphere. The album cover is done against the background of the national flag and works by Spanish composers such as Joaquin Rodrigo and Manuel de Falla are covered. Though, according to Bill Evans the intention was never to make a "Spanish" album. The band had planned to record their version of Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez", but as they were studying the piece they list to a lot of Spanish folk music and decided to make this the focus of the entire album.
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  • Continuity Nod: The Spanish atmosphere of "Flamenco Sketches" on Kind of Blue is a predecessor of "Sketches Of Spain".
  • Cover Album: The centre piece of the album is Concierto de Aranjuez, a classical music composition by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo. It almost takes up half of the record. "Will o' the Wisp" is also a classical composition, lifted from Manuel de Falla's "El Amor Brujo". "The Pan Piper" (aka "Alborada de Vigo") is a traditional Spanish song. Only "Saeta" and "Solea" are original compositions.
  • Epic Rocking: "Saeta", at over five minutes, "Solea", at over twelve, and "Concierto de Aranjuez", at over sixteen.
  • Grief Song: "Saeta", it was based on the traditional Holy Week processional "Saeta", where a marching band arrives in town, announcing Christ's death. When they reach the town's center a woman appears in a window, representing the Virgin Mary, and sings her lament.
  • Instrumentals: It's an entirely instrumental album.
  • One-Word Title: "Saeta" and "Solea".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stop and Go: "Saeta" sounds like a procession with the trumpets and drums marching along, then pauzing while a trumpet solo is played. After its concluded the trumpets and drums begin playing their marching melody again and the procession continues.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: A track has this title.

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