Label
Columbia/Legacy
Release date
12 Sep 1989
Running length
10 tracks
Running time
66:38

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Tracklist

    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Intro 4:47 5,453
2 White 6:06 5,301
3 Yellow 6:50 4,604
4 Orange 8:38 4,443
5 Red 6:05 4,455
6 Green 8:11 4,243
7 Blue 6:36 4,684
8 Electric Red 4:17 4,055
9 Indigo 6:05 3,980
10 Violet 9:03 3,767

About this album

Miles’ last recording for the Columbia label before heading for the financial allure of Warner Bros. in the mid-’80s was not released until 1989.
This critic’s guess is because largely they had no idea what to do with it. Unlike anything else in his catalog, Aura is a ten-part suite composed by Danish flügelhornist Palle Mikkelborg as a tribute. Influenced deeply by serialism and the inspiration of Gil Evans, Mikkelborg composed a theme from ten notes based on the letters of Davis’ first and last names.

The notes yielded a chord, which led him through the work. Employing a full orchestra and the guitar talents of former Davis collaborator John McLaughlin and famed European bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Aura’s sections are named for the color spectrum, with the addition of white and “electric red.”
The music is an amalgam of classical impressionism, European new music, , , , and other genres.
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. The Gil Evans influence is everywhere apparent in the way strings segue into keyboards and float there until the trumpet or wind section comes for them and brings them home. It’s easy to be cynical about a work like this, and call it a pastiche of Miles clichés. Far harder is it to place the entirety of Davis’ career in one place and hear it expressed with so much warmth and elegance, because that career was so mercurial.

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  • youagain92

    Intense enigma!

    19 Apr 9:10pm Reply
  • pedrooi

    Isn't this an underrated one?

    1 Dec 2012 Reply
  • barryvs

    Yeah, I dig this album too. White and Green in particular.

    16 Apr 2011 Reply
  • ericporcher

    I really like this CD too. And yes, @dimaensionx I'm glad that electric drum sound didn't survive the 80s! I loved John McLaughlin in this though.

    17 Dec 2010 Reply
  • dimaensionx

    This is one of my all-time favorite albums. What a great variety of the many different styles of the master himself. Except for the kind-of cheesy electric drums and McLaughlin's slightly out-of-tune solos, this is a classic!!

    15 Sep 2008 Reply
  • fuzmeister

    This sure is an interesting album when you compare it to albums like Bitches Brew and Kind of Blue.

    25 Apr 2008 Reply

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