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Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Miles Davis Birth of The Cool album cover
4.12 | 69 ratings | 6 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1949

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Move (2:35)
2. Jeru (3:10)
3. Moon Dreams (3:21)
4. Venus de Milo (3:14)
5. Budo (2:34)
6. Deception (2:50)
7. Godchild (3:12)
8. Boplicity (3:02)
9. Rocker (3:07)
10. Israel (2:19)
11. Rouge (3:17)

bonus track ( from 1978):

12. Darn That Dream (3:26)

Total Time 35:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Miles Davis / trumpet
- Bill Barber / tuba
- Lee Konitz / alto saxophone
- Gerry Mulligan / baritone saxophone
- Kai Winding / trombone (1-2, 5, 7)
- Junior Collins / French horn (1-2, 5, 7)
- Joe Shulman / bass (1-2, 5, 7)
- Max Roach / drums (1-3, 5-7, 9, 12)
- J. J. Johnson / trombone (3-4, 6, 8-12)
- John Lewis / piano (3-4, 6, 8-12)
- Sandy Siegelstein / French horn (4, 8, 10-11)
- Nelson Boyd / bass (4, 8, 10-11)
- Kenny Clarke / drums (4, 8, 10-11)
- Gunther Schuller French horn (3, 6, 9, 12)
- Al McKibbon / bass (3, 6, 9, 12)
- Kenny Hagood / vocals (12)

Releases information

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.

LP : 1956 LP Capitol T-762

1978 LP Capitol 1024
1980 LP Toshiba-EMI ECJ - 50050 (11 tracks)
1989 CD Capitol Jazz D-154138
1989 CD Capitol CDP7 92862-2
2001 CD Blue Note 30117
2003 LP Classic Compact Disc 762
2004 CD Capitol Jazz 9252
2004 CD Blue Note Japan 9252
CD Toshiba EMI 6805
CD 1998 Capitol CDP 724349455023 50th Anniversary Edition with bonus live tracks ( The Complete Birth Of The Cool)

Thanks to zafreth for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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Buy MILES DAVIS Birth of The Cool Music

MILES DAVIS Birth of The Cool ratings distribution

(69 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MILES DAVIS Birth of The Cool reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chicapah
5 stars If you're a fan of Jazz Rock/Fusion but have never really explored the realm of Jazz itself because it seems way too old-fashioned and ancient to your ears then perhaps it's because you've never heard Miles Davis. If what really intrigues you about The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever and Weather Report is the complexity of how those unbridled, flying notes fit together in some magical way without your really having to understand all the "theory" behind it all then you'll probably dig Miles Davis. If you want to go back to the tail end of the 40s and the first months of the 50s when fearless jazz musicians were starting to change all the established rules, push the envelope of what was "acceptable" and knock down locked doors then "Birth of the Cool" is a great place to begin. A "birth," indeed!

Now, I'm no expert on modern jazz. Far from it. The closest I ever came to being in the presence of seriously dedicated jazz musicians was when I was lucky enough to draw the famous One O'clock Lab Band as my beat for the campus newspaper while attending The University of North Texas in the early 70s. (My job was to sit and listen to them rehearse. Tough assignment, I know!) But I know what I like and I've learned over the years that greatness has no age limits or boundaries. This incredibly talented nonet that Miles put together made music that moves and breathes on its own like some new organism that sprang up spontaneously from all the elements of the earth. If the opening track, "Move," doesn't make you stop what you're doing to listen in wide-eyed wonder to what these nine guys are creating and mixing together then you might as well give the album away. And don't be ashamed if that happens. These challenging multi-horn, piano, upright bass and drumkit arrangements ain't for everybody. The tunes are short by prog standards but they come off more as movements in a symphony than as individual pieces. There's also a real paradox going on here because, while the music is certainly difficult and complicated, there's a sense that the musicians are having the most relaxing, joyful time of their lives because they're finally getting to play what they want to play.

So if you think that music in the mid 20th century was all Glenn Miller, Doo Wop and Elvis then you may want to educate yourself by putting this inside your head. So many of the artists that pioneered the Jazz Rock/Fusion movement either performed with and/or were greatly inspired by Miles Davis that his well-deserved place on this respected progressive music website is a no-brainer. What's really "cool" about this album is that it is truly music for grownups that are still young at heart. It's playful yet it makes you think. A 5 star prog masterpiece from a long, long time ago.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is pure jazz, at least the way I would expect it. Fitting for arriving midway through the 20th century Birth Of The Cool oozes class. Think of smokey hazy jazz nightclubs at 2AM and picture Miles Davis pushing out slick trumpet melodies with Barber (Tuba), Haig ( Piano) and Boyd ( Bass) adding gusto to the melee of sounds. There is nothing remotely progressive here, yet, but if you like the pure sound of jazz with distinct swing added then this is a definite must for any enthiusiasts. The album gets off to a slow start but starts picking up energy with ' Venus de Milo. Budo is also very pleasant on the ears as is Israel. The highlight for me is Rouge where there is perfect interplay between the musicians and noteworthy piano work by Al Haig. The last song is bizaar to say the least and the only track featuring vocals and seems oddly out of place. A landmark album by many for Miles Davis, this is an excellent album showcasing some great jazz.
Review by Isa
3 stars |C+| Miles Davis' first true landmark in music history.

The album title says it all - Birth of the Cool was literally the birth of was music historians would dub as "cool jazz," a change that was desperately needed for the survival of jazz. Bebop, as awesome a style as it was for jazz, was probably also the least accessible in terms of popular appeal. Even the attempt of Bebop innovator "Dizzy" to make Bebop accessible to the public fell flat on its face, and jazz seemed to be loosing its audience for good. Mile's Davis changed all of that with this album, which combines the great soloist musicianship and sweeping technical ability of Bebop with the slower, more orchestrated "planned out" style of big band swing, creating a type of jazz that both musicians and audiences alike could appreciate, and itself was quite unique, and is the basis for the form that most classic jazz styled compositions take today - partially composed, partially soloist, with drum patters and walking bass underlying the various horn parts.

What I love, in fact borderline adore, about this album is the pure bliss that is created by the arrangements with all of the horn parts. Miles Davis is indeed one of the most brilliant composers of all time, and nothing shows the potential he would later tap into like this album. Everything is so catchy, so soothing to the ears, so pleasant, yet so exciting when it intends to be. Few arrangements of modern jazz rival what we have in almost every track here, it set the bar early on and jazz composers, even those of today, can only strive to come close to the colossal work that this is, as Mozart's works had done for classical music.

This a progressive album strictly in terms of musical development alone, less so in the sense of the obscurity and intellectualism that we find in truly progressive music. So this essential to the jazz fan alone, as those who are less than jazz enthusiasts may not find much value in this album in terms of metal stimulation, but merely a nice album to hear every once in a while. I for one am I jazz fan and LOVE this album, so I'd strongly recommend it to that crowd alone. For me, it's a solid B+; for this site, a C+; incredibly good, but not essential to your standard progger. If you love jazz, A+, go get this album now!

Review by Warthur
4 stars Though strictly speaking it's a compilation of old material, the performances on Birth of the Cool were produced in a fairly tight span of time from 1949 to 1950, so this release could also be seen as a rather delayed studio album. Tracks from here had seen single or EP releases earlier, but this is by far the easiest way to get ahold of this material, and it's actually remarkably cohesive. Here, Miles is playing in the Cool Jazz mode, which he would return to on Kind of Blue, making this an interesting port of call to explore if you liked Kind of Blue and want to explore Miles' early material. Most post-70s editions of the album tack on Darn That Dream, a vocal track which doesn't quite seem to fit the rest of the material on here (we're here to hear the man with the horn play, thanks), but even this can't quite obscure the genius of the album.

Latest members reviews

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, (i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1540080) | Posted by uduwudu | Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars AMAZING! Never been a very big fan of jazz, but after listening this, there was some kind of rebirth, (My second rebirth, the first one was by listening to prog. The songs on this album are just what you need every moment of the day, it fits every mood and will help you get through the day. m ... (read more)

Report this review (#263025) | Posted by yasko | Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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