Birth of the Cool – Miles Davis

Artist: Miles Davis

Genre: Cool Jazz

Year: 1954

Grade: A+

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.

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