Birth of the Cool 180 Gram
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MILES DAVIS, trumpet on all tracks, accompanied by:
Side A, 1-4:
Kai Winding (tb), Junior Collins (fhr), Bill Barber (tu),
Lee Konitz (as), Gerry Mulligan (bar), Al Haig (p),
Joe Shulman (b), Max Roach (d).
New York, January 21, 1949.
Side A, 5-6 & Side B, 1-2:
J.J. Johnson (tb), Sandy Siegelstein (fhr),
Bill Barber (tu), Lee Konitz (as), Gerry Mulligan (bar),
John Lewis (p), Nelson Boyd (b), Kenny Clarke (d).
New York, April 22, 1949.
Side B, 3-6:
J.J. Johnson (tb), Gunther Schuller (fhr), Bill Barber (tu),
Lee Konitz (as), Gerry Mulligan (bar), John Lewis (p),
Al McKibbon (b), Max Roach (d).
New York, March 9, 1950.
JOHN LEWIS: “Move”, “Budo”, “Rouge”
GERRY MULLIGAN: “Jeru”, “Godchild”, “Venus de Milo”, “Rocker”, “Darn
GIL EVANS: “Boplicity”, “Moondreams”
MILES DAVIS: “Deception”
JOHNNY CARISI: “Israel”
1 JERU (Gerry Mulligan) 3:12
2 MOVE (Denzil Best) 2:33
3 GODCHILD (George Wallington) 3:09
4 BUDO (Miles Davis-Bud Powell) 2:33
5 VENUS DE MILO (Gerry Mulligan) 3:10
6 ROUGE (John Lewis) 3:13
1 BOPLICITY (Cleo Henry) 3:00
2 ISRAEL (Johnny Carisi) 2:17
3 DECEPTION (Miles Davis) 2:46
4 ROCKER (Gerry Mulligan) 3:05
5 MOONDREAMS (Chummy MacGregor-Johnny Mercer) 3:19
6 DARN THAT DREAM (Eddie DeLange-Jimmy Van Heusen) 3:24
Although it is highly revered today, the music of the Miles Davis Nonet left the audiences of the late 1940s indifferent. The group was highly popular among other musicians, however, and served as an inspirational force to a multitude of other bands, as well as the different subsequent groups of the many musicians involved. Traces of the nonet’s music can be found in the early 1950s Miles Davis groups, the Gil Evans recordings (including the arranger’s wonderful collaborations with Miles), Mulligan’s pianoless quartet with Chet Baker, certain arrangements of the Stan Kenton orchestra and John Lewis’ (another member of the nonet) posterior Modern Jazz Quartet. Gil Evans commented on the nonet’s instrumentation – which was highly innovative within a jazz context – in a 1978 interview with Les Tomkins: “It was actually created that way; the idea was to sound as full as possible, you know, and still not be too large. It could still cover all the harmonic needs that the music could have, and the range and tone colours. That was why I picked out that instrumentation; it would take care of what I had written.” Miles Davis remembered it this way in his Autobiography: “Birth of the Cool became a collector’s item, I think, out of a reaction to Bird and Dizzy’s music. Bird and Diz play this hip, real fast thing, and if you weren’t a fast listener, you couldn’t catch the humor or the feeling in their music. Their musical sound wasn’t sweet, and it didn’t have harmonic lines that you could easily hum out on the street with your girlfriend trying to get over with a kiss. Bebop didn’t have the humanity of Duke Ellington. It didn’t even have that recognizable thing. Bird and Diz were great, fantastic, challenging –but they weren’t sweet. But Birth of the Cool was different because you could hear everything and hum it also. Birth of the Cool came from black musical roots. It came from Duke Ellington. We were trying to sound like Claude Thornhill, but he had gotten his shit from Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson. Gil Evans himself was a big fan of Duke’s and Billy Strayhorn’s, and Gil was the arranger for Birth of the Cool.”