|Studio album by|
|Released||September 12, 1989|
|Recorded||January 31–February 4, 1985|
|Studio||Easy Sound Studio, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Miles Davis chronology|
Aura is a concept album by Miles Davis, produced by Danish composer/trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, released in 1989. All compositions and arrangements are by Mikkelborg, who created the suite in tribute when Davis received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in December 1984, the year Decoy was released.This was Miles Davis's final album released in his lifetime.
A concept album is an album in which its tracks hold a larger purpose or meaning collectively than they do individually. This is typically achieved through a single central narrative or theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, or lyrical. Sometimes the term is applied to albums considered to be of "uniform excellence" rather than an LP with an explicit musical or lyrical motif. There is no consensus among music critics as to the specific criteria for what a "concept album" is.
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz.
Palle Mikkelborg is a Danish jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger and record producer. He started playing professionally in 1960, and has since been a dominant figure on the Danish and international progressive jazz scene. He has released several solo records, and recorded with various co-founded groups, as well as appearing as sideman or arranger on numerous international records. Notable international collaborations include appearances with the Gil Evans Big Band, the George Russell Big Band, Gary Peacock, Jan Garbarek, and Miles Davis, for whom he composed and produced the 1985 record Aura. In 2001 he was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize.
The main theme consists of 10 notes, yielded by the letters "M-I-L-E-S-D-A-V-I-S" (see BACH motif, and Schoenberg hexachord "EsCHBEG", and the chart at Musical notes#Accidentals). It is introduced at the beginning over a sustained chord of these same notes. The following 9 movements of the suite represent the colours Mikkelborg sees in Miles's aura.
In music, the BACH motif is the motif, a succession of notes important or characteristic to a piece, B flat, A, C, B natural. In German musical nomenclature, in which the note B natural is named H and the B flat named B, it forms Johann Sebastian Bach's family name. One of the most frequently occurring examples of a musical cryptogram, the motif has been used by countless composers, especially after the Bach Revival in the first half of the 19th century.
6-Z44 (012569), known as the Schoenberg hexachord, is Arnold Schoenberg's signature hexachord, as one transposition contains the pitches [A], Es, C, H, B, E, G, E♭, B, and B♭ being Es, H, and B in German.
The music is scored for an extended jazz big band, and the core of the band is formed by the Danish Radio's Big Band, featuring Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Thomas Clausen and Marilyn Mazur.Notable international guests such as John McLaughlin and Davis' nephew Vince Wilburn are featured. The sessions took place in Copenhagen in 1985 at Davis' own initiative, as he had been very honored and satisfied with the suite. It was the first time Miles Davis had recorded with a big band for over 20 years. Aura, however, is not a conventional big band jazz album. The music is perhaps best categorized as fusion jazz with a strong flavor of modern classical music, as many of the orchestral passages reveal Mikkelborg's inspiration from composers like Olivier Messiaen and Charles Ives.
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, often known as NHØP, was a Danish jazz upright bassist known for his technique and musical approach.
Marilyn Mazur is a Danish percussionist, drummer, composer, vocalist, pianist, dancer, and bandleader. She was born in New York City and has lived in Denmark since age six. She is of Polish and African-American descent. Since 1975, she has worked as a percussionist with various groups, among them Six Winds with Alex Riel. Mazur is primarily an autodidact, but she has a degree in percussion from the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
John McLaughlin, also known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is an English guitarist, bandleader and composer. His music includes many genres of jazz, combined with elements of rock, Indian classical music, Western classical music, flamenco, and blues. He is one of the pioneering figures in fusion.
Although the album was recorded at Easy Sound Studios in Copenhagen in 1985, contractual issues delayed its release until 1989. The album won a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|
Aura was well received by music critics. Allmusic editor Thom Jurek described its music as "an amalgam of classical impressionism, European new music, jazz, rock, electronic, and other genres."He called the album Mikkelborg's "fine parting gift" for Davis and wrote, "As a tribute and separate orchestral work, it's quite moving and beautiful, full of moody interludes and evocations of nuance, color, texture, and dynamic. With Davis added, soloing in his trademark muted, rounded warmth, the music becomes almost breathtaking." Wes Long of PopMatters called Aura "ruthlessly inventive", an "ever-moody masterpiece", and "quite possibly the last monumental effort" from Davis. Fred Kaplan of New York commented that the release emerged from an era of "mechanical rut" for Davis and called Aura "a jolting synthesis of jazz, rock, and Messiaen-influenced classical music that lit up a future path lamentably unfollowed."
The Oxford Companion to Music defines music criticism as 'the intellectual activity of formulating judgements on the value and degree of excellence of individual works of music, or whole groups or genres'. In this sense, it is a branch of musical aesthetics. With the concurrent expansion of interest in music and information media over the past century, the term has come to acquire the conventional meaning of journalistic reporting on musical performances.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Todd S. Jenkins of All About Jazz commented that the album "successfully blends Miles’ electric style with the feel of his earlier big-band works with Gil Evans, another of Mikkelborg’s prime inspirations."He wrote in conclusion, "Mikkelborg’s work offered Miles the chance to touch once more upon many of the phases his career had touched and then sailed past. If any post- Bitches Brew album by Miles should be considered essential, this is the one. Pure magic from beginning to end." In Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s (1990), music critic Robert Christgau cited it as Davis' best release during the 1980s. In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), music journalist Paul Evans called Aura "an adventurous and pointedly non-pop-oriented big-band suite".
All About Jazz is a website established by Michael Ricci in 1995. A volunteer staff publishes news, album reviews, articles, videos, and listings of concerts and other events having to do with jazz. Ricci maintains a related site, Jazz Near You, about local concerts and events.
A big band is a type of musical ensemble that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Big bands originated during the early 1910s and dominated jazz in the early 1940s when swing was most popular. The term "big band" is also used to describe a genre of music. One problem with this usage is that it overlooks the variety of music played by these bands.
Ian Ernest Gilmore Evans was a Canadian jazz pianist, arranger, composer and bandleader. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest orchestrators in jazz, playing an important role in the development of cool jazz, modal jazz, free jazz, and jazz fusion. He is best known for his acclaimed collaborations with Miles Davis.
All tracks composed and arranged by Palle Mikkelborg
Jack Johnson is a studio album and soundtrack by American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Miles Davis. It was released on February 24, 1971, by Columbia Records.
Tutu is an album by American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, released in 1986 by Warner Bros. Records. It was recorded primarily at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and Clinton Recording in New York, except the song "Backyard Ritual", which was recorded at Le Gonks in West Hollywood. Davis received the 1987 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist Grammy Award for his performance on the album.
Porgy and Bess is a studio album by jazz musician Miles Davis, released in March 1959 on Columbia Records. The album features arrangements by Davis and collaborator Gil Evans from George Gershwin's 1935 opera of the same name. The album was recorded in four sessions on July 22, July 29, August 4, and August 18, 1958, at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City. It is the second collaboration between Davis and Evans and has garnered much critical acclaim since its release, being acknowledged by some music critics as the best of their collaborations. Jazz critics have regarded the album as historic.
Star People is a 1983 album recorded by Miles Davis and issued by Columbia Records. It is the third release after the trumpeter's six-year hiatus. Beside the members of the band of We Want Miles the recordings feature John Scofield for the first time, who worked alongside Mike Stern in Davis's band in late 1982 and early 1983 before Stern's departure later in the year. Scofield was recommended by saxophonist Bill Evans. Marcus Miller played on five of the six tracks, but was replaced by Tom Barney on the most recent track of the album, "Speak", a live recording from February 1983 in Houston. Barney would be replaced later in 1983 by Darryl Jones. Al Foster and Mino Cinelu are heard on drums and percussion. Miles Davis plays trumpet and Oberheim synthesizer often at the same time, and also on separately recorded interludes for the over-18-minute-long blues "Star People". The album has also become part of the box set Miles Davis: The Complete Columbia Album Collection.
Pangaea is a live album by American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Miles Davis. It was originally released as a double album in 1976 by CBS Sony in Japan.
Miles Davis at Fillmore is a 1970 live album by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and band, recorded at the Fillmore East, New York City on four consecutive days, June 17 through June 20, 1970, originally released as a double vinyl LP. The performances featured the double keyboard set-up Davis toured with for a few months, with Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea playing electronic organ and Fender Rhodes, respectively. The group opened for Laura Nyro at these performances.
Carsten Dahl is a pianist.
In Concert is a live double album by American jazz musician Miles Davis. It was recorded in 1972 at the Philharmonic Hall in New York City. Columbia Records' original release did not credit any personnel, recording date, or track listing, apart from the inner liner listing the two titles "Foot Fooler" and "Slickaphonics".
Dark Magus is a live double album by American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Miles Davis. It was recorded on March 30, 1974, at Carnegie Hall in New York City, during the electric period in the musician's career. Davis' group at the time of the concert included bassist Michael Henderson, drummer Al Foster, percussionist James Mtume, saxophonist Dave Liebman, and guitarists Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas. He also used the show to audition saxophonist Azar Lawrence and guitarist Dominique Gaumont. Dark Magus was produced by Teo Macero and featured four two-part recordings titled after Swahili names for the numbers one through four.
Niels Eje is a Danish composer and oboist.
Jørgen Emborg is a Danish jazz pianist and composer, influenced by Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, who has given the music a lyrical, specifically Nordic feel in his compositions.
Danish Jazz goes back to 1923 when Valdemar Eiberg formed a jazz orchestra and recorded what are thought to be the first Danish jazz records in August 1924. However, jazz in Denmark is typically first dated to 1925, when bandleader Sam Wooding toured in Copenhagen with an orchestra. This was the first time most Danes had heard jazz music. Some prominent early Danish jazz musicians include Erik Tuxen who formed a jazz band and later was named conductor of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Bernhard Christensen, an art music composer who incorporated jazz elements into his pieces, and Sven Møller Kristensen, who was the lyricist for many of Bernhard Christensen's pieces and who wrote a book on jazz theory in Danish.
The Danish Radio Big Band, often referred to as the Radioens Big Band is a radio ensemble and big band founded in Copenhagen in 1964.
Bent Jædig was a Danish jazz musician. He played tenor saxophone and flute.
Bergen Big Band (BBB) is a Norwegian big band established 1991 as a continuation of Knut Kristiansen's Bergen Band. BBB is known from cooperations with musicians like Phil Woods, Paquito D'Rivera, Joe Henderson, Maria Schneider, Diana Krall, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Andy Sheppard, Martial Solal, Mathias Rüegg, Gianluigi Trovesi, Mathias Eick, Ole Kock Hansen, Etta Cameron, Karin Krog, John Surman, Dino Saluzzi, Gustavo Bergalli, Berit Opheim, Jan Magne Førde, The Core, Ab und Zu, Vidar Johansen, Paolo Vinaccia, Ståle Storløkken, Palle Mikkelborg and Terje Rypdal among others.
Staffan William-Olsson is a Swedish jazz guitarist in the band The Real Thing who has worked with Bob Berg, Lee Konitz, and Palle Mikkelborg.
Uffe Eskild Markussen is a Danish jazz reedist, who plays primarily tenor saxophone and bass clarinet.
More Than You Know is an album by saxophonist Dexter Gordon with an Orchestra arranged and conducted by Palle Mikkelborg recorded in 1975 and released on the Danish SteepleChase label.