Thursday Jazz: All Blues

It’s amazing to me that network tv would air a piece of music that runs nine minutes.

Miles always seemed to draw great musicians to his groups. The original recording of this was on Kind of Blue. This version ups the tempo noticeably, and features more of the composer.

I write composer with hesitation. Miles Davis certainly conceived this piece, but when he went into the studio to record it in 1959, he gave his musicians some scales and sketches of melody lines–nothing more. The leader instructed them briefly then they went to work recording the music.

Legend tells that some or all of the five tracks were nailed on the first take, but later jazz historians uncovered this as a bit of exaggeration. Even so, the concept of giving musicians the barest of outlines and then getting the album in two days of recording is amazing. The inspiration of just … playing: we should see more of that in sacred music.

This quintet of Miles Davis features four fine musicians near the beginning of their careers. Wayne Shorter is cool and understated on sax; Herbie Hancock cracks me up as he adjusts his glasses during his solo. The rhythm section of Ron Carter (behind Davis) and Tony Williams keeps the whole thing going.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Thursday Jazz: All Blues

  1. In rock music, this modal concept was attempted but only rarely with success: the solos in The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” and later “Dark Star” by The Grateful Dead.

    You have to have incredibly attuned musicians to pull this off. Don’t try this at home, kids.

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