August 19, 2008

Fewer chords but infinite possibilities

Yesterday, on WGBH's evening jazz program, I heard an excerpt of the track Fisherman, Strawberry and Devil Crab from the Porgy and Bess album by Miles Davis . Sublime!
The album features arrangements by Davis and collaborator Gil Evans from George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess. The album was recorded in four sessions on July 22, July 29, August 4 and August 18 in 1958 at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City.
You can listen to the track via Rhapsody or via

Here's couple other great tracks by The Miles Davis quintet (Miles, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams) from 1967.

'Round midnight

I fall in love too easily

I love the above two tracks much more than the tracks (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) from his much acclaimed album from 1969- Bitches Brew. (I just realized that
Teo Macero, who died earlier this year in February, produced Bitches Brew and Miles Davis's famous album Kind of Blue as well as another all-time great Jazz album - Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quintet, which includes what is arguably my favorite jazz track - Take Five, which I had linked to in my first ever post featuring music.

The title comes from something Miles said about the Porgy & Bess album:
When Gil wrote the arrangement of "I Loves You, Porgy," he only wrote a scale for me... gives you a lot more freedom and space to hear things... fewer chords but infinite possibilities as to what to do with them. Classical composers have been writing this way for years, but jazz musicians seldom have.


Kim said...

Utterly, completely unrelated, but here's a link to writing resources:

Sanjeev said...

Thanks. Have added it to my bookmarks folder called "Writing". And there it shall fester, along with the hundreds of other links.

(Yeah... one of those cynical why-am-i-not-doing-something-constructive moods!)

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