Miles Davis (629 words) Essay

Miles Davis
Miles Davis, from his beginnings as a nineteen-year-old kid in 1945 New York
City, to his final days in the early 1990’s, is to be considers one of the
jazz’s best. The 1996 album entitled, Bluing: Miles Davis Plays the Blues, the
engineers at Prestige Records bring Miles Davis back to life. Packed with over
73 minutes and of 12 bar blues, Bluing brings nine great tunes of Davis’
together on one disk. Having been originally recorded in the 1950’s, these
nine cuts take the listener through a decade of music and a decade of Davis’
life. On the opening track, entitled “Bluing”, we hear nearly ten minutes of
Davis on trumpet, Jackie McLean on alto sax, Sonny Rollins on tenor, Walter
Bishop, Jr. on piano, Tommy Porter on bass, and Art Blakey playing the drums.

Bishop provides the intro of the song on the piano, with Blakey coming in soon
after. Nearly a minute in, Davis begins and is soon softly accompanied by the
saxes. Through the first five or so minutes of the tune, Davis enjoys a solo. He
is then followed by the tenor and alto sax, respectively. I enjoy this track
mostly for the tone Davis achieves and the moderate tempo. However, during
Rollins’ tenor solo and then again for the last minute or so of the song,
Davis and the rest of the group pick up the pace and begin double-timing. In the
end, for me, this track is made classic by a botched ending on the part of Art
Blakey. If you listen closely you can hear Davis’ instant reaction: “We’ll
have to play it again then, man. You know the arrangement.” Obviously enough,
Blakey doesn’t contribute to any of the other songs on the album. Another cut
that I enjoyed on this album is “Bags’ Groove”. Originally issued on Miles
Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants: Bags’ Groove, this song opens with Milt
Jackson on vibraharp and also has a great vibraharp solo about three minutes in
to the over nine minute tune. Track five has come to be my favorite on the album
Bluing. Entitled “Green Haze”, this cut consists of Red Garland on piano,
Oscar Pettiford on bass, Philly Joe Jones on the drums, and of course Davis with
his trumpet. Garland provides a great opening on the piano. Davis comes in a
little over a minute in to the tune and sets a very subdued mood with his warm,
mellow tone and a slower tempo. Later on in the song the group picks it up a bit
and begins playing double-time, only to slow it back down for a great bass solo
by Pettiford. The entire song is background by the Jones’ stirring of a brush
on his snare. This gives the tune a very softened feel. It is this melodious and
softened feel that makes me enjoy the tune so much. Before listening to this
album I had the idea in my mind that all blues was slow in tempo and portrayed a
mood of depression or sadness. After listening to these nine songs I see that
blues can be at any tempo at all, and can also create moods other than sadness.

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The second song on the album, “Blue ?N’ Boogie” is very up-tempo and
actually makes me wish I knew how to dance jazz. I was surprised to find that I
liked the faster songs on the album because in the past, though I have been
involved in playing music for many years, I’ve always enjoyed the slower
songs. Now on the other hand, I find myself wanting to start playing again so I
can have a chance to play some of these faster tunes that I have passed on in
the past. As for Miles Davis’ Bluing, I would recommend it to anyone wanting
to hear some really good jazz. Prestige Records did a great job of choosing nine
of Davis’ blues tunes to compile onto one disk.


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