Miles Davis: George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (1958)

Porgy and Bess

Track list:

A1 01. The Buzzard Song
A2 02. Bess, You Is My Woman Now
A3 03. Gone
A4 04. Gone, Gone, Gone
A5 05. Summertime
A6 06. Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess?

B1 07. Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)
B2 08. Fisherman, Strawberry and Devil Crab
B3 09. My Man’s Gone Now
B4 10. It Ain’t Necessarily So
B5 11. Here Come de Honey Man
B6 12. I Loves You, Porgy
B7 13. There’s a Boat That’s Leaving Soon for New York


Orchestra under the Direction of Gil Evans
French Horn – Gunther Schuller, Julius Watkins, Willie Ruff
Trumpet – Bernie Glow, Ernie Royal, Johnny Coles, Louis R. Mucci
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Miles Davis
Trombone – Frank Rehak, Jimmy Cleveland, Joseph Bennett, Dick Hixon
Tuba – Bill Barber
Flute – Jerome Richardson (A1,A6,B1), Phil Bodner (A2-to-A5,B2-to-B7), Romeo Penque
Saxophone – Cannonball Adderley, Daniel B. Banks
Bass – Paul Chambers
Drums – “Philly” Joe Jones (A1,A3-to-B1,B3,B6,B7), Jimmy Cobb (A2,B2,B4,B5)

Released: March, 1959
Label: Columbia LP CS 8095 / CL 1274

Recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City;
July 22, 1958 NYC (A3,A4,B3)
July 29, 1958 NYC (A2,B2,B4,B5)
August 4, 1958 NYC (A1,A6,B1)
August 18, 1958 NYC (A5,B6,B7)

Engineer: Frank Laico
Producer: Cal Lampley

Liner Notes: Charles Edward Smith

Photography Front Cover: Roy De Carava


Columbia CL 1274, CS 8095, PC 8095 // Miles Davis – Porgy And Bess

Miles Davis With Gil Evans Orchestra

All tracks recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York City

July 22, 1958:

Miles Davis (flh);
Johnny Coles, Bernie Glow, Louis Mucci, Ernie Royal (tpt);
Joe Bennett, Jimmy Cleveland, Frank Rehak (tb);
Dick Hixon (btb);
Willie Ruff, Gunther Schuller, Julius Watkins (frh);
Bill Barber (tuba);
Cannonball Adderley (as);
Phil Bodner, Romeo Penque (fl,alto fl, cl);
Danny Bank (alto fl, bcl);
Paul Chambers (bass);
‘Philly’ Joe Jones (drums);
Gil Evans (arr, cond)
CO61300 – My Man’s Gone Now
CO61301 – Gone, Gone, Gone
CO61302 – Gone

July 29, 1958

Same personnel as July 22, except Jimmy Cobb (d) replaces ‘Philly’ Joe Jones
CO61359 – Here Come De Honey Man
CO61360 – Bess, You Is My Woman Now
CO61361 – It Ain’t Necessarily So
CO61362 – Fisherman, Strawberry and Devil Crab

August 4, 1958:

Same personnel as July 22, except Jerome Richardson (fl, alto fl, cl) replaces Phil Bodner; Jimmy Cobb (d) replaces ‘Philly’ Joe Jones
CO61366 – Prayer
CO61367 – Oh Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess ?
CO61368 – Buzzard Song

August 18, 1958:

Miles Davis (tpt, flh);
Ernie Royal, Bernie Glow, Louis Mucci (tpt);
Joe Bennett, Frank Rehak, Jimmy Cleveland (tb);
Dick Hixon (btb);
Willie Ruff, Julius Watkins, Gunther Schuller (frh);
Bill Barber (tuba);
Cannonball Adderley (as);
Romeo Penque, Jerome Richardson (fl, alto fl, cl);
Danny Bank (alto fl, bcl);
Paul Chambers (b);
Jimmy Cobb (d);
Gil Evans (arr, cond)
CO61421 – Summertime
CO61422 – There’s A Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon For New York
CO61423 – I Loves You, Porgy


In 1958, George Gershwin’s opera Porgy And Bess was very much in vogue.

Several jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Collette, and Mundell Lowe had already created their own versions of certain songs.

Cal Lampley, George Avakian’s successor, wanted to take advantage of the fact that a film version of the opera was in production.

Gil Evans’ adaptation of Gershwin’s score was a veritable tour de force.

He chose certain pieces and re-organized the chronology of the original work, adding “Gone,” a completely original work whose tonal combinations placed it among his masterworks.

The fierce violence of the orchestra’s overture, the funeral lamentations of “Gone, Gone, Gone,” and the powerful clamors of “Prayer” seized the audience and released their grip only to overwhelm them with the astonishing romanticism of the trumpeter who, with an actor’s intuition and a dandy’s grace, slipped into the skin of the different characters.