Flamenco Sketches (9:27)

Cover of Kind of Blue

From Kind of Blue and 104 other releases

“Flamenco Sketches” is a jazz composition written by American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Bill Evans. It is the fifth track on Davis’ 1959 album Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz record of all time, and an innovative experiment in modal jazz. The track features Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb and Bill Evans.

The piece has no written melody, but is rather defined by a set of chord changes that are improvised over using various modes of the major scale of each tonality. Each musician separately chose the number of bars for each of the modal passages in his solo. Davis gets credit for the song form, but Evans is credited with the opening 4-bar vamp over Cmaj7 and G9sus4, which is the opening theme to his ballad improvisation “Peace Piece”. Because of the presence of this vamp, “Flamenco Sketches” is usually played as a ballad. The modes used in “Flamenco Sketches” are as follows:

C Ionian (natural major scale)
A♭ Mixolydian (Major with a minor 7th)
B♭ Ionian
G Harmonic Minor over D Phrygian Dominant (alternates over bass notes D and E♭)
G Dorian

Most reissues since then have included the alternate take of “Flamenco Sketches” as the 6th track, which is the only complete alternate take from the two recording sessions that make up this recording.

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