Payweek Picks: Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain

May 14, 2014

If you’ve ever dreamt of what it would be like to walk the streets of Spain at night, accompanied by an American jazz master, step no further than to your favorite source unit to queue up Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain.

Sit back in the sweet spot, and prepare to take an epic journey through the most intricate of alleyways and lushest countryside, this album promises to make that dream come true.

A masterful combination of brass, woodwind, and rhythm and percussion instruments, Sketches of Spain blends Davis’ piercing horn solos we all love with classic Flamenco flair—it’s truly an album unlike any other. It’s piercing but delicate, sensual and seductive, mysterious but marvelous. Sitting back to enjoy the album as a whole is like embarking on an adventure, and this is the soundtrack.

I really can’t describe this album any better than Monster already has:

“Lush and lonesome, poignant and piercing, Miles's 1960 masterpiece Sketches of Spain is one of his most visionary and enduring accomplishments: a study in darkness and light, sustained melancholy and evocative arrangements…. Sketches was the culmination of his legendary collaborations with arranger Gil Evans, with Miles's raw, romantic solos (played on trumpet as well as flugelhorn) serving as the perfect foil to Evans's rich, cinematic soundscapes.”

If that description doesn’t sell you on adding this album to your Sound Lab selection, also consider the fact that it’s one of the few jazz titles to land on Rolling Stone's “Top 500 Albums of All Time”.

Now, if you’re going to pick up this album, I highly encourage you to get the Monster Music remastered edition. The sound quality is simply phenomenal. Tape hiss? Forget it. This is the cleanest remastering of any classic jazz album I have heard yet. Not a single instrument is out of balance. It's a truly engaging experience to hear this.

This 5.1 HD Surround and HD Stereo version of Sketches was remixed from the original master tape reels by Head Monster Noel Lee and three-time Grammy Nominated engineer David Rideau who worked diligently for months to recreate the emotion and presence of the original live session, and they succeeded. They squeezed out the finest details of every instrument, from Davis’ trumpet to the shuffling of sheet music and the faintest maraca shakes, your ears will be engulfed with sound as if you were sitting in with them back in 1959.

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5 comments

  1. While I have not heard this edition, I have heard the Sony single layer SACD and own it on vinyl. If there is no hiss, I would strongly suspect that some type of noise reduction was used in the mastering process. That would not sit well with me.

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    1. why would you want to listen to high definition tape hiss? The engineers at Monster spent several months remastering this album, taking into account even the positioning of each musician in the studio using photographs from the sessions. They used the original session master reels and converted the three analog tracks into 19 to create the most complete audio experience. According to the liner notes, they used no processing or digital software to remaster this.

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    2. Just try it, you'll like it. Mikey

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  2. Come on dude, post some new tunes its been almost a month. I like to hear authentic tape hiss from the original sessions without any noise reduction. The Intense Listener

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  3. Dude, that trumpet is killing me, post some new tunes already. The Intense Listener

    ReplyDelete

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