Birth of the Cool: Wikis

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Birth of the Cool
Studio album by Miles Davis
Released 1949 (78 rpm) "Move" , "Budo" , "Jeru" and "Godchild", 1950 (78 rpm) "Boplicity" and "Israel", 1954 (LP 10" Capitol H-459), February 1957 (LP 12" Capitol T-762)
Recorded January 21, April 22, 1949 and March 9, 1950 (New York City)
Genre Cool jazz
Length 35:29
Label Capitol
Producer Walter Rivers, Pete Rugolo
Professional reviews
Miles Davis chronology
Cool Boppin'
(1949)
Birth of the Cool
(1949)
Conception
(1951)

Birth of the Cool is an album which compiles twelve songs recorded by the Miles Davis nonet for Capitol Records in 1949 and 1950. Featuring unusual instrumentation and several notable musicians, the music consisted of innovative arrangements strongly inspired by classical music, and marked a major development in post-bebop jazz. As the title implies, these recordings are considered seminal in the history of cool jazz.

Contents

Background and recording history

Gil Evans contributed some charts to the sessions, acting as an advisor to a group of musicians who had met in his small New York apartment above a Chinese laundry. Evans had gained a reputation in the jazz world for his orchestration of bebop tunes for the Claude Thornhill orchestra, including Davis's "Donna Lee". Davis was seeking an alternative to the small groups typical of contemporary jazz (he was a member of Charlie Parker's quintet at the time), and in 1947 started to organize the loose circle of musicians into a working group. Rehearsals and experiments took place over the next year.

The nonet performed live only briefly—initially for a two week engagement in late August and early September 1948 at the Royal Roost Club in New York. Billed as the "Miles Davis Band", the group at this time consisted of Davis (trumpet), Mike Zwerin (trombone), Bill Barber (tuba), Junior Collins (French horn), Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone), Lee Konitz (alto saxophone), John Lewis (piano), Al McKibbon (bass), and Max Roach (drums). Former Dizzy Gillespie vocalist Kenny Hagood was featured on a few songs. Unusually, the arrangers (Mulligan, Evans and Lewis) were given credit. The group returned to the Royal Roost later in September, and recordings from 4 September and 18 September 1948, were included on the 1998 Complete Birth of the Cool CD, alongside the later studio sides. There was a further short residency the following year at the Clique Club, but the nonet was not a financial success, and disbanded. In 1949 Davis had a contract with Capitol to record twelve sides for 78 rpm singles. He thus reformed the nonet to record three sessions in January and April 1949 and March 1950. Davis, Konitz, Mulligan and Barber were the only musicians who played on all three sessions, though the instrumental lineup was constant (excepting the omission of piano on a few songs). Originally released as singles, eight of the tracks were compiled in 1953 on a 10" vinyl album in Capitol's Classics in Jazz series, and in 1957 a 12" LP named Birth of the Cool added the remaining three unreleased instrumental pieces ("Move", "Budo" and "Boplicity"). The final track, "Darn That Dream" (the only song with vocals, by Hagood), was included with the other eleven on a 1971 LP. It is this last arrangement that subsequent releases have been based on.

Musically, the songs on Birth of the Cool stand as an important reaction to the prominent bebop form in contemporary jazz. Though the break can be exaggerated—Charlie Parker participated in the discussions Evans led, most of the musicians were drawn from the bebop scene, and many continued to play in that style for years afterward—it inspired a whole school of jazz musicians, particularly in California in what is usually referred to as "West Coast jazz" or the "cool school".

Cleo Henry

Cleo Henry was the pen name used by Davis as the composer credit on the track "Boplicity", which was in fact written by Davis and arranged by Gil Evans. Cleota Henry Davis was Davis's mother. No other composition was ever written under this pen name by Davis.

Track listing

Arrangements by the composer unless otherwise noted.

  1. "Move" (Denzil Best, arranged by John Lewis) – 2:32
  2. "Jeru" (Gerry Mulligan) – 3:10
  3. "Moon Dreams" (Chummy MacGregor, Johnny Mercer, arranged by Gil Evans) – 3:17
  4. "Venus de Milo" (Mulligan) – 3:10
  5. "Budo" (Miles Davis, Bud Powell, arranged by Lewis) – 2:32
  6. "Deception" (Davis, arranged by Mulligan) – 2:45
  7. "Godchild" (George Wallington, arranged by Mulligan) – 3:07
  8. "Boplicity" (Cleo Henry, i.e. Davis and Gil Evans, arranged by Evans) – 2:59
  9. "Rocker" (Mulligan) – 3:03
  10. "Israel" (Johnny Carisi) – 2:15
  11. "Rouge" (John Lewis) – 3:13
  12. "Darn That Dream" (Eddie DeLange, James Van Heusen, arranged by Mulligan) – 3:26
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Recording dates

  • Tracks 1, 2, 5, 7 – 21 January 1949
  • Tracks 4, 8, 10, 11 – 22 April 1949
  • Tracks 3, 6, 9, 12 – 9 March 1950

Recorded at WOR Studios, New York, New York.

The Complete Birth of the Cool (The Studio Sessions)

Arrangements by the composer unless otherwise noted.

  1. "Move" (Denzil Best, arranged by John Lewis) – 2:32
  2. "Jeru" (Gerry Mulligan) – 3:10
  3. "Moon Dreams" (Chummy MacGregor, Johnny Mercer, arranged by Gil Evans) – 3:17
  4. "Venus de Milo" (Mulligan) – 3:10
  5. "Budo" (Miles Davis, Bud Powell, arranged by Lewis) – 2:32
  6. "Deception" (Davis, arranged by Mulligan) – 2:45
  7. "Godchild" (George Wallington, arranged by Mulligan) – 3:07
  8. "Boplicity" (Cleo Henry, i.e. Davis and Gil Evans, arranged by Evans) – 2:59
  9. "Rocker" (Mulligan) – 3:03
  10. "Israel" (Johnny Carisi) – 2:15
  11. "Rouge" (John Lewis) – 3:13
  12. "Darn That Dream" (Eddie DeLange, James Van Heusen, arranged by Mulligan) – 3:26

Recording dates

  • Tracks 1, 2, 5, 7 – 21 January 1949
  • Tracks 4, 8, 10, 11 – 22 April 1949
  • Tracks 3, 6, 9, 12 – 9 March 1950

Recorded at WOR Studios, New York, New York.

The Complete Birth of the Cool (The Live Sessions)

Arrangements by the composer unless otherwise noted.

  1. "Birth of the Cool Theme" (Gil Evans) - 0:19 - (arranged by G.Evans)
  2. "Synphony Sid announces the band"
  3. "Move" (Denzil Best) - 3:40
  4. "Why Do I love You" (DeSylva, Gershwin, Gershwin) - 3:41 - (arranged by J.Lewis)
  5. "Godchild" (George Wallington) - 5:15
  6. "Synphony Sid introduction" - 0:27
  7. "S'il Vous Plait" (John Lewis) - (arranged by J.Lewis)
  8. "Moon Dreams" (Chummy MacGregor, Johnny Mercer) - 5:06
  9. "Budo (Hallucinations)" (Bud Powell, Miles Davis) - 1:25
  10. "Darn That Dream" (Eddie DeLange, James Van Heusen) - 4:25
  11. "Move" (Denzil Best) - 4:48
  12. "Moon Dreams" (Chummy MacGregor, Johnny Mercer) - 3:46
  13. "Budo (Hallucinations)" (Bud Powell, Miles Davis) - 4:23

Recording dates

  • Tracks 1-9 recorded September 4, 1948, tracks 10-13 il September 18, 1948, Live at Royal Roost in New York.

Personnel

The Complete Birth Of The Cool (The Live Sessions)

In popular culture

Sources

  1. ^ From episode EABF03, "The Dad Who Knew Too Little" [1]

Further reading


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