Artist: Miles Davis
Genre: Cool Jazz
Highlights: “Moon Dreams,” “Move,” “Jeru,”
Miles Davis’ first collaboration with Gil Evans is nothing short of a masterpiece. Every song features a subtle tonal shift, an attractively anxious quality that always keeps the listener on the edge of their seat, none better and more left-field than the polyphonic breakdown that closes “Moon Dreams.” It’s obvious from the get-go that Davis and his cohorts have stumbled upon a sound out of time — the vivacious energy of hard bop shellacked with a relaxing varnish of dreamy classical.
Recorded in three separate sessions from 1949 to 1950 (and released as a 10” LP in 1954), Birth of the Cool laid the foundations for all major jazz developments in the decade that followed. From the proto-Mingus post-bop of “Israel” to the modal “Venus de Milo” at the album’s center, Davis rewrites the rulebook of what is and isn’t possible.