George Avakian wanted to expose Miles Davis to a wider audience by having him lead a significantly larger group of musicians. He got the idea from Third Stream, a “third” current that combined the rhythmic strength of jazz and the refinement of classical music. This opportunity gave Miles the chance to reconnect with Gil Evans. At the center of the big band assembled by the arranger was the brass section, which was completed by two French horns, a tuba, and various woodwind instruments (alto sax, clarinets, flutes, and an oboe). Miles opted for the mellow sonority of the flugelhorn, as though this choice would enable him to find his own place among the shimmering orchestral effects. It was no surprise that the piano was missing: here, the orchestra had taken its place, specifically finding its inspiration in the style of the pianist Ahmad Jamal, whose version of “New Rhumba” they borrowed. The importance of Spain was also apparent, in “The Maids Of Cadiz” and, above all, in the grand “Blues For Pablo,” inspired by Manuel de Falla’s “Le Tricorne.” Once they were recorded, the pieces were linked together through skillful orchestral transitions creating a long symphonic suite.

Original issue: Columbia LP CL 1041 on October 21, 1957
Producer: George Avakian, assisted by Cal Lampley
Engineer: Harold Chapman
May 6, 1957 (a)
Miles Davis (flh); Ernie Royal (tpt); Bernie Glow (tpt); Louis Mucci (tpt); Taft Jordan (tpt); Johnny Carisi (tpt); Frank Rehak (tb); Jimmy Cleveland (tb); Joe Bennett (tb); Tom Mitchell (tb); Willie Ruff (frh); Tony Miranda (frh); Bill Barber (tuba); Romeo Penque (fl, cl, bcl, oboe); Sid Cooper (fl, cl); Lee Konitz (as); Danny Bank (bcl); Paul Chambers (b); Arthur Taylor (d); Gil Evans (arr, cond)
May 10, 1957 (b)
Same personnel as May 6
May 23, 1957 (c)
Same personnel as May 6, except Jimmy Buffington (frh) replaces Tony Miranda
May 27, 1957 (d)
Same personnel as May 6, except Eddie Caine (cl, fl) replaces Sid Cooper; add Wynton Kelly (p)
August 22, 1957
Miles Davis, only; overdub session.
All tracks recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio, NYC

  1. Springsville [c]
  2. The Maids Of Cadiz [a]
  3. The Duke [a]
  4. My Ship [b]
  5. Miles Ahead [b]
  6. Blues For Pablo [c]
  7. New Rhumba [c]
  8. The Meaning Of The Blues [d]
  9. Lament [d]
  10. I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed ( By Anyone But You) [d]
  11. Springsville* [c]
  12. Blues For Pablo* [c]
  13. Medley: The Meaning Of The Blues/Lament* [d]
  14. I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed (By Anyone But You)* [d]

* Not on original LP