One of Miles Davis’s finest albums is Miles Ahead +19: Videos, Photos

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One of Miles Davis’s finest albums is Miles Ahead: Miles Davis +19, an orchestral jazz recording arranged and conducted by Gil Evans in May and August of 1957.

In many ways, the LP was jazz’s first concept album. The music unfolds like a story and can only be heard and appreciated by listening from start to finish.

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As gentle and as seamless as this album is—with Evans’s heaving orchestration and Davis’s  innocent flugelhorn throughout—virtually all of the music had already been recorded by other artists. To illustrate, I have recreated Miles Ahead: Miles Davis +19 below using the original recordings in the same order as they appear on the album. What this shows is just how brilliant Evans was as an arranger and how tender Davis was as a flugelhornist. By stitching these pieces together and lifting them to majestic levels, we hear how songs become masterpieces in the right hands [photo above of Miles Davis and Gil Evans]:

John Carisi’s composition and arrangement of Springsvillerecorded on All About Urbie Green and his Big Band in August 1956, featuring Green on trombone and Carisi in the trumpet section…

French classical composer Léo Delibes’s The Maids of Cadiz, as recorded by the Benny Goodman Sextet in 1947…

Dave Brubeck playing his composition The Duke in 1955…

The first jazz recording of Kurt Weill’s My Ship, by Bob Chester in 1941 with Betty Bradley on vocal…

The noble original Miles Ahead, by Miles Davis and Gil Evans, from the Miles Ahead album…

Gil Evans’s Blues for Pablo, which he wrote and arranged originally for Hal McKusick’s Jazz Workshop tentet in 1956…

Ahmad Jamal’s New Rhumba, recorded by Ahmad Jamal (p) Ray Crawford (g) and Israel Crosby (b) in 1955…

Bobby Troup and Leah Worth’s The Meaning of the Bluesby singer Julie London in 1957…

J.J. Johnson’s Lament, recorded by trombonists Johnson and Kai Winding in 1954…

Jack Elliot and Harold Spina’s I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed (by Anyone But You) as recorded by Ahmad Jamal in 1955 (same personnel as above)…

The entire Miles Ahead: Miles Davis +19 (one track follows the next)…

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