An opulent, and true to original spirit, interpretation of the incendiary classic.
Miles Davis and Gil Evans revolutionized modern music in 1960, when their “Sketches Of Spain” alchemically married tradition to innovation by fusing a variety of genres into a solid, if constantly fluctuating, whole. CJP artistic director Orbert Davis might be not related to the giant he shares a last name and artistic audacity with, yet he knows it too well, having performed this opus many a time, enough to see no point in covering what was mostly a covers album. Its freedom allowed the Chicagoan to inject not only his presence into this new reading of the classic but also his own compositions in lieu of familiar ones, his originals sounding as familiar.
CJP retains the beginning and finale of the old LP, respectively Joaquín Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” and Evans’ “Solea,” and that’s as far as their reverence goes, as both pieces have been significantly rearranged to let different sections of the orchestra shine. Flowing from the opening suite, “Muerto del Matador” builds on its tune in the atmospheric, breathing interplay of brass and acoustic strum, yet “El Moreno,” high on Saracen swirl, is marked with a more slick approach once saxes join in. In its turn, string quartet receives a bright exposure on the chamber channelling of Isaac Albéniz’s “El Albaicin”, written for piano just like “Concierto” was for classical guitar and orchestra. Piano plays a special role in “Revisited,” ushering the music in and adding percussive element to the melodic stream, especially in the end which takes the listener to the square one, strewn with much more pronounced rhythmic strokes, while Orbert’s trumpet, vibrant and very clear in tone, doesn’t fly over harmonic layer but weaves in and out of it as dynamics rise and cede.
Perhaps, less improvisational than its starting point, “Revisited” gives the classic another dimension and firmly stands its own pleasure ground. The spirit lives on, then.