My dog is named for Miles Davis, one of the greatest musicians of the last century. Miles was an innovator of music – coming out of the bop tradition prevalent in NYC in the late 1940’s – early 1950s.
Cram-as-many-notes-as-you-can-into-a measure-at-breakneck-speed kind of sums up bop for me in jazz. I respect the talent it takes to do this, but like bluegrass, about 20 minutes is my limit. After that, I want to hear actual notes.
Miles gave us that bop relief with the ‘Birth of the Cool’. “Music,” he said once, “is about the space as much as it is about the notes.” He had it right, in my opinion.
People who don’t like jazz that much like Kind of Blue, perhaps the best known jazz album of all time, it defines the word ‘cool’. I’m listening to a YouTube video about this masterpiece right now, and someone just said: “this is the
kind of record I’d recommend to anyone who wanted to hear what jazz is.”
Oh yeah…it’s the kind of record you’d send to outer space to represent some of our greatest achievements as a species. Any visitors would be impressed.
Kind of Blue was released 50 years ago today. Check this performance of the best known track from the album, So What, w/John Coltrane from 1959: