Jazz, while being the American classical music, might be one of the greatest compliments to an outstanding meal. it is meant to be savored like a well marbled steak. It is truly one of my passions. In that light, it is truly my joy to share an occasional jazz interlude with you. I will attempt teach those who are new to Jazz and learn from those who share my love of this art form. Let's begin with the quintessential jazz album from the quintessential Jazz Artist. The greatest selling Jazz album of all time is Kind of Blue by none other than Miles Davis. It is a universally accepted masterpiece and the album I point to whenever someone says, "I'd like to get into Jazz." Miles was at the forefront of several Jazz eras. Kind of Blue ushered in the Cool Jazz movement. It was a significant departure from the Be-Bop albums of years past. One of the amazing things about this collection of songs is that it was recorded unrehearsed in one or two takes. Working with some amazing musicians, Miles came in with some sketched out chords and some simple melodies that left lots of space for creativity and improvisation. Here is a list of the musicians: Miles Davis – trumpet
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley – alto saxophone (except on "Blue in Green")
John Coltrane – tenor saxophone.
Bill Evans – piano (except on "Freddie Freeloader")
Wynton Kelly – piano (on "Freddie Freeloader")
Paul Chambers – double bass
Jimmy Cobb – drums. There are only 5 songs on the album (6 if you count an included alternate take). The two songs that are the best examples of Cool Jazz are So What and All Blues. Both songs are so light that it feels like the musicians are floating in and out of the studio and even with no practice the never manage to step on each others toes. Interestingly, Miles plays on "So What" without his trademark muted trumpet sound and still manages to stand out among the other instruments even during the chorus. John Coltrane's sax is both powerful and melancholy. Bill Evans' piano serves up stabbing accents that are the essence of subtlety. With all of the turmoil in the lives of these musicians, it still amazes me that they could create something so pure. It is almost impossible to grow tired of this album. You will discover something new every time you listen to it. It's no wonder that is 4X platinum. I suggest you turn the TV off, pour yourself three fingers of bourbon, and just sit and listen. Listen to the ensemble then go back and focus on the individual performances. You will be rewarded for your time spent with this iconic music.
Enjoy and come back soon!