Jazz Review: "Birth of the Cool" album by Miles Davis

December 12, 2018

We haven't done jazz reviews in while; we now return to them with a review of an album by the name of "Birth of the Cool". It features Miles Davis with a large band, and among the musicians on the recording were a mixture of well-known trombonists, pianists, and saxophonists. If there was anyone really famous who was on the recording (besides, of course, Miles Davis), it was drummer Max Roach.

 

All of the tracks on the album are short: the shortest is "Israel" (about 2 minutes and 15 seconds) and the longest is "Moon Dreams" (about 3 minutes and 20 seconds). There were some well-known bebop tunes recorded on the album (in particular: "Move", "Boplicity", and "Rocker"). The album, as its name implies, was key in the foundation of cool ("West Coast") jazz. The album was recorded in a few sessions that took place around 1950, and for this reason, the album was somewhat ahead of its time.

 

While Miles Davis of course improvises during a lot of the solo time, others also improvise in some places; a lot of the time, though, is spent on arranged sections. There is nothing remarkable about the sections or the solos, but that's really the point of the whole album: it's known as "Birth of the Cool", or "cool jazz", for a reason.

 

The tunes on the album to listen to are "Move" and "Israel", and then if you have more time, "Rouge" (for its piano solo), "Rocker", "Boplicity", and "Jeru". "Move" and "Israel" are shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Move", on the left / "Israel", on the right

 

The full album playlist can be found on YouTube, with each track a separate video. (Click the link in the previous sentence to get the full playlist.)

 

* Information roughly based on Allmusic, and some common knowledge.

 

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