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Miles Davis - Birth of The Cool CD (album) cover


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.12 | 70 ratings

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4 stars Well I've just found a new version of this album, the above track listing plus 8 bonus cuts on an obscure (to me) label called Crackerjack. Almost certainly it's a low budget label with easily licensed content. However its very nicely done, LP style gate fold jacket, with liner notes in clear, (if still necessarily small monochrome for we ocularly challenged), a detailed soft inner bag - all the accoutrements that record consumers love, at a reasonable price. The inner bag details the line ups for the 1951 bonus studio cuts and the 1948 live recordings.

Keep an eye out in the sales stores, you never know what turns up among the mass produced over-compiled, lowest-common denominator oriented content that now comes across as dross due to the shoddy marketing.

Anyway, so this turned up. I've known this album from a while back, the above compilation. Possibly my memory but this master sounds a little more restrained.

The music is cool jazz with a fantastic series of line ups based around Miles Davis Nonet. Smoky jazz, nightclub beautiful, elegant - the epitome of cool. The music is tightly arranged, flawlessly played and sounds impeccable.

Now one of the things we must do as reviewers is rate things down for yer typical prog rock fan. As prog rock has not been defined and can encompass a fusion fan to Zeuhl and RIO, avant garde, electronica and all things classically oriented so where does the typical come in? I will have the almighty rind to rate the music highly but I do not have the nerve to assume a listener who likes Yes (e.g. me) would like this less because it does not sound like Yes. That's too difficult for a simple soul so I can only point anyone interested in this album to get the thing. Preferably this version that is now nearly 70 minutes long. Others will really enjoy the upgrade on their 35 minute version.

Naturally this has nothing to do do with the hybrid of country and blues i.e. rock. That had yet to be invented and jazz was in it's late forties by now. Oh one thing for the yet to be convinced - there is nothing dated sounding on this. There's plenty of jazz played in the 21st Century such as cool. The recording is not perfect but has been remastered so other than the very occasional mild overloading of a frequency into what are no longer state of the art microphones, this sounds very good indeed. Some bonus cuts are live, others studio.

Of course if you don't like jazz then you're not going to like it no matter what I say. Still, however orchestrated the multi-horn band is, the intimacy of the music is never lost and the melodic standard is as high as the performance value. Just for reviewer reference I prefer smaller band arrangements to big band (just my taste that's all).

The Darn That Dream bonus one of two vocal tracks on either version of this album, the other is a bonus number called You Go To My Head. Which, for someone who is also not overly keen on the jazz croon (too M.O.R. for me) is a relief. N.B. This observation and remark does not apply to Billie Holliday and Frank.

If you do like jazz, and you like Miles (really, are the two exclusive?) this is essential music, in an essential format.

4.5 stars rounded to 4 as it is not prog rock (sounds silly to me - rating something on what it's not is a bit daft but there we go). Five star for music, jazz and the music collection that likes it's content enriched rather than diluted). A slightly better recording (they've done their best with recordings that are in their mid sixties and its a very good best) and some slight (possibly unavailable detail?) for the bonus cut line ups but otherwise this new version of Birth of The Cool is just fine.

uduwudu | 4/5 |


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