Tag Archives: miles davis

Acclaimed Albums – Birth of the Cool by Miles Davis

Like I mentioned with the switch over to the Top 1000 list, there are a number of older albums that I listened to as part of a previous blog. This was back in 2009 … and I think my views on music have changed somewhat. Or maybe not, but hey it’s good to keep crossing these off so for these three weeks will be playing a game of catch-up.

List item: Listen to the 1000 Most Acclaimed Albums
Progress: 294/1000
Title: Birth of the Cool
Artist: Miles Davis
Year: 1954

After a headache inducing bout of Sabu it appears that my feet are firmly planted once again in jazz country, at least time it is an offering from the most famous name in jazz. Mr Miles Davis. Unlike most of the music that I have so far reviewed this is not in fact my first encounter with this artist for I have his later album Kind Of Blue loaded onto my iPod so I guess I knew what to expect.

As usual this man does not fail to deliver and to me cements his place as the best name in jazz hands down. What’s this though? I said about a week ago that I hated jazz without vocals and made no mention of my respect for Miles Davis? Oh well I guess it just slipped my mind. Either way, back to the matter at hand. 

The Birth of Cool starts with a one-two punch of Move and Jeru and what follows is a smattering of cool and breezy jazz tracks that gel into one cohesive whole. With the exception of the closer ‘Darn That Dream’ which just feels incredibly out of place. Compared with the other jazz albums that I have been subjected to this has the feeling of a solid gold chocolate bar suspended in swamp of molten lime jelly.

However, when placed alongside all other albums I decided to be more stringent on the ratings as I could feel myself getting carried away due to the complete weirdness of this week’s albums. Also I don’t feel it lives up to either Tragic Songs of Life or This is Fats which meant a slightly downgraded rating. 

Music Monday: Bitches Brew by Miles Davis

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 48/250Bitches_brewTitle: Bitches Brew
Artist: Miles Davis
Year: 1970
Position: #91

Okay, so this will probably be the shortest album write-up that I ever do for this blog for one main reason: the free-form jazz in this managed to stimulate a panic response to the point that I felt the need to rock back and forth. I have no idea why this would have elicited such a response, especially since I loved Kind Of Blue, but for the way it made me feel I don’t think I want to go in for a third listen now.

They say music should awaken something inside of you… but maybe not the feeling of immediate danger.

Music Monday: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 15/250

kindofblueTitle: Kind of Blue
Artist: Miles Davis
Year: 1959
Position: #44 (Previously: #35)

Another day and another jazz album… oh wait. It’s time for Kind Of Blue today. Awesome.

I say awesome because this is an album that I am already acquainted before I started this project and so will be the victim of a surprise jazz attack. Also, this is Miles Davis who’s previous album, Birth Of The Cool, was rather enjoyable.

Thus here we have Kind Of Blue which critics tend to agree is Miles Davis’ masterstroke of an album, and it has been the one I have preferred of his thus far. This may change though since there is another album of his I need to listen to.

The thing that sets this album apart from other jazz albums is that nothing on it jars at all. This is an album focused more on smoothing and concordant sounds that please the ears rather than a discordant mess that give me a headache.

While as a whole this is one top album there is one clear favourite track for me on this album, the opener ‘So What. While the whole album itself is incredibly smooth and pleasing to the ears this track to me is the epitome of smooth jazz. For over 9 minutes it is able to stay smooth with subtle nuances changing here and there whilst never forgetting the central melody. Yet this is still recognisable as a jazz/blues track. How does Miles Davis do it? I tell you why, he’s plain awesome.