Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain
Every time someone picks a favorite Miles Davis record, a jazz snob gets his wings - or is it rolls his eyes? Let's face it, you can't make anyone happy, and they're either going to say you're trying to make a statement, you don't understand Miles's career as a whole, or you should really listen to more jazz. 'Round About Midnight, Bitches Brew, and In a Silent Way are all essential in their own ways, and avoiding Kind of Blue is like what Chris Rock says about raising a child without a man: "you can drive a car with your feet if you want to, that don't make it a good fucking idea." But in the personal preference category, Sketches of Spain gets my nod, not just because it's one of the most unusual records in his catalogue (take that, On the Corner), but because it's lushly orchestrated and passionate. It sounds exactly like its title, mysterious and filled with melancholy. Though the triumph here is the opening "Concierto," check out "Saeta" with its drum march and basically perfect Miles solo. I know jazz isn't everyone's bag, and the sheer volume of work within even one artist's catalogue is extremely intimidating, but don't fear what moves you. This one is going in the time capsule, people.