Quiet Nights (Miles Davis and Gil Evans album)

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Quiet Nights
MileDavis QuietNights.jpg
Studio album by Miles Davis/Gil Evans
Released December 16, 1963[1]
Recorded 1962–63
Studio Columbia Studios in Los Angeles
Genre Bossa nova
Length 26:57
Label Columbia
Producer Teo Macero, Irving Townsend
Miles Davis/Gil Evans chronology
Seven Steps to Heaven
(1963)
Quiet Nights
(1963)
In Europe
(1964)

Quiet Nights is a studio album by jazz musician Miles Davis, and his fourth album collaboration with Gil Evans, released in 1964 on Columbia Records, catalogue CL 2106 and CS 8906 in stereo. Recorded mostly at Columbia's 30th Street Studios in Manhattan, it is the final album by Davis and Evans.

Background[edit]

Keeping to his standard procedure at Columbia to date of alternating small group records and big band studio projects with Gil Evans, Davis entered the studio with Evans to follow up the latest studio LP by the working quintet, Someday My Prince Will Come.[2] In 1961, Davis had also released his first live albums, two independent LPs entitled Friday Night at the Blackhawk and Saturday Night at the Blackhawk, in addition to the studio set. Another live set from 1961, Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall, also with both the quintet and a large ensemble conducted by Evans was issued in 1962.[3]

The genesis of this Davis/Evans album, however, encountered far greater difficulties than its three predecessors. Bossa nova had recently become a commercial success in 1962 with the single "Desafinado" from the album Jazz Samba by Stan Getz, and Columbia executives may have pressured Davis and Evans to attempt something similar with this album.[4] Sessions were also protracted over long stretches of time.

Recording[edit]

Two songs were recorded at the first session in July, "Corcovado" and "Aos Pés Da Cruz" (meaning 'Hunchback' and 'At the Foot of the Cross' in Portuguese), and released as Columbia singles 4-33059 and 4-4-42583; neither charted.[5] The pair returned to longer forms for the subsequent sessions, Evans perhaps not given enough time to finish the charts for the earlier session.[6] The attempt to mix potential hit singles and Evans' writing style for Davis, essentially concertos for jazz trumpeter, may have torpedoed the project.

After three sessions spread over four months, the yield was approximately 20 minutes of usable music, enough for an album side but not an entire album. Evans and Davis never made it back into the studio to complete more recordings, and the project was shelved.[7] Faced with the expenses from the large ensemble and the studio time, producer Teo Macero added a quartet track from an April 1963 session in Hollywood to complete the album and give the label something to show for its investment, Quiet Nights, released two years after the start of recording.[8] Davis was furious at the release of what he viewed as an unfinished project, and did not work with Macero again until the October 1966 sessions for Miles Smiles.[8] The added tune, "Summer Night," was an outtake by Davis' group as recorded for the album Seven Steps to Heaven.

"Time of the Barracudas"—recorded in Hollywood on October 9 and 10, 1963—was written as a commission from Peter Barnes to accompany a production of his play of the same name starring Laurence Harvey and Elaine Stritch. It is unknown whether the music was actually used for its intended purpose. The song was included as a bonus track when the album was reissued on CD by Legacy Records on September 23, 1997.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[10]
Down Beat 4/5 stars[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 2/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[13]

In a contemporary review for Down Beat, Leonard Feather called Quiet Nights a "curious and not entirely satisfying album". He felt "Song No. 2" ended prematurely while the long-meter arrangement of "Wait Till You See Her" sounded unusual, but found "Once Upon a Summertime" to be brilliantly recorded and "Summer Night" highlighted by Davis and Feldman's "consistent level of lyrical beauty".[11] In the Saturday Review, Quiet Nights received praise for Davis' "wonderfully songful trumpet in a Latin-American vein", set against "piercingly lustrous curtains of tone and discreet Caribbean rhythms".[14] Loren Schoenberg later called it "a slightly flawed but worthy companion" to other classic Davis-Evans recordings.[15] J. D. Considine was less receptive in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992), dismissing the record as "halfhearted" bossa nova atypical from their otherwise exceptional work together.[13]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Song No. 2 (a.k.a. Prenda Minha, brazilian folk song)" Gil Evans, Miles Davis 1:40
2. "Once Upon A Summertime" Johnny Mercer, Michel Legrand
Eddie Barclay, Eddy Marnay
3:27
3. "Aos Pés Da Cruz" Marino Pinto, José Gonçalves 4:18
4. "Song No. 1 (a.k.a. Adelita by Francisco Tárrega)" Gil Evans, Miles Davis 4:37
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Wait Till You See Her" Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart 4:06
6. "Corcovado" Antonio Carlos Jobim 2:45
7. "Summer Night" Harry Warren, Al Dubin 6:04
1997 reissue bonus track
No. Title Writer(s) Length
8. "Time of the Barracudas" Gil Evans, Miles Davis 12:45

Personnel[edit]

Bonus track personnel[edit]

  • Miles Davis – trumpet
  • Gil Evans – arranger, conductor
  • Dick Leith – bass trombone
  • Bill Hinshaw, Art Maeba, Richard Perissi – french horns
  • Gene Cipriano, Paul Horn – woodwinds
  • Fred Dutton – bassoon
  • Marjorie Call – harp
  • Herbie Hancock – piano
  • Ron Carter – bass
  • Tony Williams – drums

Production[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miles Davis.com
  2. ^ Richard Cook. It's About That Time: Miles Davis On and Off Record. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-532266-8, p. 123
  3. ^ Cook, pp. 139–140
  4. ^ Bob Belden. Quiet Nights. Columbia/Legacy CK 65293, 1997, liner notes p. 15.
  5. ^ Belden, liner notes p. 16.
  6. ^ Belden, liner notes, p. 16.
  7. ^ Belden, liner notes, p. 18.
  8. ^ a b Cook, p. 141.
  9. ^ Belden, liner notes p. 19.
  10. ^ Quiet Nights at AllMusic
  11. ^ a b Alkyer, Frank; Enright, Ed; Koransky, Jason, eds. (2007). The Miles Davis Reader. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 232. ISBN 142343076X. 
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Miles Davis". Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0857125958. 
  13. ^ a b Considine, J. D. (1992). "Miles Davis". In DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly. The Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd ed.). Random House. pp. 179, 181. ISBN 0-679-73729-4. 
  14. ^ "The Other Side". Saturday Review: 60. 1964. 
  15. ^ Schoenberg, Loren (1996). "The Meeting of Minds in a Legendary Union". The New York Times. Retrieved July 5, 2016. 

External links[edit]