Personnel includes: Miles Davis (trumpet); John Scofield, Earl Klugh, Omar Hakim, James Walker, Jason Miles.
Original score written by Miles Davis and Marcus Miller.
Dedicated to the work of master arranger Gil Evans, who passed away shortly before its 1987 release, SIESTA represents an even more compelling Miles Davis/Marcus Miller collaboration than their work on TUTU. In a way, it is a contemporary return to the Iberian glory of the classic Davis/Evans masterpiece, SKETCHES OF SPAIN, although it is obviously not a work derived from acoustic orchestral techniques, but one born of modern keyboard and percussion programming.
And while their soundtrack doesn't possess the richness or the ancient elemental groove of SKETCHES, Miller's charts have an aura quite unlike the microwaveable slabs of synth cliches which saturate most modern soundtrack writing. Ultimately, Davis' deep love for the Spanish milieu and Miller's obvious affection for Evans' original orchestrations make SIESTA one of the warmest, most lyrical works of Davis' autumnal years.
SIESTA's main theme begins with an eerie synth cluster that winds its way through the soundtrack. Miller's use of keyboard samples is refined and understated, such as the suggestions of massed guitars and plucked strings on "Theme Of Augustine," the moaning chords beneath his bass clarinet on "Submission," the dreamlike dolphin sounds concluding "Lost In Madrid, Part III," and the fat, melodic drum beats which bring on "Conchita." Davis is obviously inspired by the earthiness of Spanish folk music and the familiarity of his surroundings--his playing is deeply focused and emotionally direct throughout, particularly on the closing "Los Feliz" where his lower register tone carries the theme forward.
This collaboration between Miles Davis and producer Marcus Miller (who, except for some cameos, plays all of the other instruments) is quite successful and a bit of a surprise since it is essentially a soundtrack to an obscure film. Dedicated to arranger Gil Evans, the music is greatly influenced by his style with Miller creating an electrified but very warm orchestra to accompany Davis' melodic solos. This was the first of several instances in which Miles Davis, in the twilight of his life, returned to his roots. It's worth searching for. ~ Scott Yanow