birth of the cool

first post. i doubt i'll be introducing anyone to Miles Davis today, but this being the birth of my blog, one whose song i hope elicit the adjective "cool" once in a while, well...it felt appropriate. 

Birth of the Cool, so titled because it marked the transition from bebop to cool jazz, came out in 1957, and is a compilation of songs from three sessions in 1949 and 1950. the Miles Davis nonet, featuring Mike Zwerin on trombone, Bill Barber on tuba, Junior Collins on French horn, Gerry Mulligan on the baritone sax, Lee Konitz on the alto sax, John Lewis on piano, Al McKibbon on the stand-up bass, and Max Roach on drums, was literally "too cool for school." the "school" in question is that of bebop with it's aggressive tempos, and limelight virtuosity. the beauty here is the detached elegance, never getting to heated, despite its rhythmic skips and hops. also remarkable is the ability of the band to never sound like a nonet. the record is intimate, as if they are playing to you and not for you.

below are a couple of songs from the album. "Venus de Milo," a track you're likely to hear in any jazz lounge in the world, was composed by Gerry Mulligan, and features a bold solo from Miles, followed by a short, but potent bit of Mulligan's baritone sax. interestingly, "Boplicity," is credited to have been composed by Cleo Henry, the only song in Davis' repertoire to be credited as such. Cleo Henry is actually a pen name of Davis, the son of Miles and Cleota Henry Davis.


Miles Davis - Venus de Milo (mp3)
Miles Davis - Boplicity (mp3)

p.s. please leave comments!

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