science bastards

3 December, 2011

Kind of Blue, Vol.7, Flamenco Sketches

Filed under: Authoritative Music Reviews, Miles Davis — sciencebastards @ 8:19 pm

“Flamenco Sketches” is another really slow and subdued number, ala “Blue in Green”.  According to legend, it was written by Bill Evans but not credited to him.  It does seem to center around a really simple progression that Evans kicks off in the beginning.  His playing again seems to have a lot of space to it and, at least in the first part of the song, is just holding things down.  The horns seem more mournful than “Blue in Green” though.  Miles’ initial solo is especially so.  There is no percussion to speak of whatsoever until the saxophones start their parts, even then it is a really simple pattern on the ride cymbal with brushes and eventually you can hear a little snare too.  While the song remains pretty slow, it doesn’t seem to plod along.  The mood is less cool than it is a bit muted.  That’s a fine distinction but it seems to really matter in a way.  The big highlight again is Evans’ piano, which slowly wakens throughout the song, eventually culminating in a really ethereal sounding solo at about six minutes into the piece.  He is maximizing his sustain and the notes really hang around.  It starts as sparsely played single notes and eventually works up to some fantastic sounding chords.  I am not sure if Miles really ever did anything else with him and it’s a shame if the answer is no.  The two seem to really complement each other here.  Evans surely wouldn’t have hung around when Miles went electric but he really shines on this track.  This is no slight to the saxophones, which have gone unmentioned here really.  They are rather seamlessly integrated into the mood of the piece and do their jobs quite well.  I feel as if I’m slighting them by not talk of them more but they have consistently been of somewhat lesser interest to me, this track is no exception.  When they are on, I am listening to the piano underneath or just waiting to hear Miles again, because then I get to hear both of them.  All in all, this track is good for some of its individual pieces and maybe slightly less so for its whole.  It seems to lack the narrative arc that some of the others have.  It’s still quite worth it for its good parts though.

Rating 4.25 of 5

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