Canela & Vidal: Univers Miles (2004)
For this recording made in Barcelona, Spain in 2002, vocalist Carme Canela and pianist Lluis Vidal undertook the challenge of presenting songs from the Miles Davis Songbook. I've given up counting the various tributes over the course of the past twelve years, but Canela-Vidal should be credited with coming up with ten selections that avoid the usual tunes that one finds in this type of effort. I would certainly include "'Round Midnight" and "All Blues" in that category. Most of the vocals come from the 1950s and early '60s Miles recordings.
English is not the language of birth for Carme Canela, but she acquits herself well in delivering these lyrics without sounding stilted or artificial. She has a breathy style, not unlike that of Helen Merrill, and with Vidal they do a credible job of presenting the songs in a similar format to the original. The album begins with probably the oldest: Miles' recording of "Old Devil Moon" from Blue Haze. From there, the duo visit the first Gil Evans album for "My Ship" and Porgy and Bess for "My Man's Gone Now." Probably the most up-tempo entry is "Love for Sale," from the late 1950s, as is "Stella by Starlight." "Someday My Prince Will Come," "Blue in Green" and "I Fall In Love Too Easily" round out the early 1960s.
The inclusion of "My Funny Valentine" from 1964 represents the sole entry from the Shorter-Hancock-Carter-Williams Quintet of the '60s and understandably, the bulk of the Miles discography during this period consisted of originals. It might be difficult to find lyrics to the likes of "Nefertiti" and Sorcerer." The chronology ends with the Michael Jackson-associated "Human Nature" that Miles turned into a pop jazz hit twenty years ago.
Track Listing: Old Devil Moon, My Ship, Someday My Prince Will Come, Love for Sale, I Fall in Love Too Easily, My Man's Gone Now, Stella By Starlight, My Funny Valentine, Human Nature, Blue in Green.
Personnel: Carme Canela, vocals; Lluis Vidal, piano