Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain (1960)

Trade all the previously reviewed albums for this one. It's a wonderful feeling, hearing a great record after listening to records that were merely good. Hearing Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain reminded me of what great music actually sounds like. Hands down one of the greatest albums.

I love it all, the horns, the castanets, all the accompaniment. I love this more than 'Round About Midnight (1957), which already I loved more than Kind of Blue (1959). Blasphemy, I know.

Last night, I played this album. Right now, my wife and I are going to sit down to a meal, and I will play it again for good mood and ease of digestion. A confession: this music-with-meal will be, probably, the fourth time in my life I've listened to this album, but for the times I've listened, I don't know a single name of any one of the tracks. Do you? Hard enough to remember the names of songs with words. Even harder with wordless jazz. Which reminds me.

One reason an album like this has such universal appeal is the same reason other wordless jazz records and classical music have a leg up in the music world. No words means the instruments have to speak for themselves. I don't know about you, but listening to wordless jazz gives me this immersive feeling, like I'm sunk into the emotions of the songs, nobody there to tell me what to think with lyrical accompaniment. All that, though, is just to say exactly that wordless music is a leg up on lyrical music, but in terms of head starts, it ends there. After that begins the greater burden for the music to really work on the body. A genius like Miles makes it all seem like doing this to the listener is so, so easy.


  1. Agree to disagree. Sketches of Spain sounds like a movie soundtrack. Kind of Blue sounds like an emotion that doesn’t even have a name, or at least not a name in the English language. Beyond Shakespeare’s anguish… well past Hemingway’s melancholy…

    1. I can't speak to your point about Shakespeare or Hemingway, but regarding the soundtrack thing... I get what you mean, but I think that's because of Sketches' influence on film, not the other way around. I'm speaking on the basis of nothing but an intuition. Pure conjecture, of course. I know very little.