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Birth of the Cool

Miles Davis Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: 4.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Discover Miles Davis


by William Ruhlmann

Throughout a professional career lasting 50 years, Miles Davis played the trumpet in a lyrical, introspective, and melodic style, often employing a stemless Harmon mute to make his sound more personal and intimate. But if his approach to his instrument was constant, his approach to jazz was dazzlingly protean. To examine his career is to examine the history of jazz ... Read more in Amazon's Miles Davis Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Birth of the Cool + In A Silent Way + Kind Of Blue
Price For All Three: 13.57

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  • In A Silent Way 4.33
  • Kind Of Blue 4.53

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Oct 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol Jazz
  • ASIN: B000005HF9
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,420 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Move
2. Jeru
3. Moon Dreams
4. Venus De Milo
5. Budo
6. Deception
7. God Child
8. Boplicity
9. Rocker
10. Israel
11. Rouge
12. Darn That Dream

Product Description

Miles Davis ~ Birth Of The Cool

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic 23 Dec 2010
Format:Audio CD
This album is an absolute classic. It helped establish Miles Davis and Gil Evans in the jazz world and features other great players such as Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz and Max Roach.

A word of warning though if you are new to jazz, know Miles Davis from some of his later albums, or are not a fan of West coast (aka Cool) jazz it may not immediately set your world on fire. However, give the album some time and the superb writing and arrangements should win you over.

It's true that prior to these recordings Miles had struggled as a Charlie Parker sideman with the speed of Parkers bop playing. Indeed it could be said that throughout his lengthy career Miles best playing was on slow or mid paced numbers that allowed his lyricism to shine. Birth of the cool was certainly more laid back than Parkers bop and Miles playing is superb throughout.

The other reasons that the album is a classic though are the strong writing and the excellent arrangements by Gil Evans that are intelligent and multi-layered yet overall the tracks are all concise. A nonet is used and the larger horn section, including french horn and tuba, adds depth to the arrangements. The arrangements were certainly in a different direction to the the big band and swing arrangements that had gone before and the album had a huge affect on later arrangers, whilst it became common to use tuba and french horn in extended mid size groups.

Overall a truly classic jazz album. My only complaint is the inclusion of Darn that Dream the only vocal track on the album. The vocal style sounds incredibly dated and has me reaching for the stop button as quick as a flash.
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not many better starts to jazz than this 26 Nov 2004
Format:Audio CD
If you're new to jazz, you can easily be swayed away from the genre by stuff that sounds like a tray of dropped cutlery.
This, however, is a sheer joy to listen to - whether dipping a tentative toe into the ocean that is jazz, or if your beard smells of real ale and your favourite chords are augumented thirteenths.
The remarkable consensus amongst critics that this is one of the finest jazz albums made goes to show how strong it is. It is a major achievement that even jazz critics can't be snobbish about this - a groundbreaking record made in 1949 that still sounds fresh.
Buy - you will not be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool just about says it... 25 May 2010
By Tyrone
Format:Audio CD
If you're a history buff, you'd love to see these cuts in their original '54 Classics In Jazz LP package with the '49 and '50 single-only sides (Budo/Move/Boplicity/Darn That Dream) as bonus tracks (Godchild/Jeru/Israel/Venus de Milo were on both, Darn That Dream wasn't on The Cool until '71). But it's unlikely because this repackaged '57 album made them famous and you can see why. Although up to 8 years old, if you were new to them they must have sounded young, bright and modern. This is beautifully written, arranged and played music that casually glides on a breeze.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Back in 1949/50, Miles Davis and eight friends recorded 3 sessions. The results were released as singles, then collected together and released in 1957 as `Birth Of The Cool' under the name of Miles Davis. But the other names in the group should not be overlooked, they read like a who's who of 50's and 60's cool and freeform jazz, with people like Gerry Mulligan, Max Roach and Gil Evans all making important contributions.

Davis had just finished a turbulent period as a sideman to Charlie Parker, where he seems to have felt restricted and out of place. The aim of these recordings appears to have been to allow each musician and arranger to express themselves fully and comfortably in a relaxed atmosphere.

Stylistically this was a move away from the bebop that most of the group had recorded previously, and truly was the start of the `Cool' hard bop movement that moved away from the frenetic phrasings of bebop and gave way to longer, more complex pieces with experimentations in rhythm, sometimes dissonance and interesting interactions between the group members. But the key word seems to be `relaxed'.

Still limited to the three minute single format there isn't quite the room for each member to stretch out as there would be when Miles embraced the LP format. This is a bit of a shame given the number of musicians involved, and the odd range of instruments played (not many jazz tracks featured tuba or French horn since the early days of Armstrong's hot fives and sevens), but this is still an impressive album that really lays down the vision that Miles had for his musical future, and delivers 11 tracks of inventive, interesting and gripping cool jazz.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great relaxed small group jazz.. 30 July 2013
Format:Audio CD
Recorded in 1950 originally as individually as 78's and then only later collated into being the album that that jazz fans and critics have loved and revered as both a formative album for a number of important artists (Miles Davis /Gill Evans/Gerry Mulligan etc) as well as very enjoyable listening experience in its own right.

The music was designed,consciously or not as a reaction against the then prevalent Be-Bop style which tended to highlight virtuosity and pace often at the expense of melody and variety. These compositions are all about arrangement, tunefulness,texture and discipline. A major and often neglected figure in this context, Gerry Mulligan produced some cracking tunes for the band to play here.Soloists do feature and there is many a fine example of individual brilliance but not at the expense of the overall structure of the individual piece. An example of this is how a 'hot' sax soloist like Lee Konitz plays a masterful little run on 'Boplicity' without hindering the forward melodic motion of the proceedings. As a result of all this thoughtful ensemble work each track sounds like it was played by a really big band, instead of the nonet that was really at work.The mood is relaxed and warm but never bland and prefigured the sort of work that miles would undertake with such albums as 'Miles Ahead' and 'Sketches of Spain'. This 'cool' approach to jazz opened up the gates for Miles Davis, Chet Baker , the Modern Jazz Quartet to explore the idea that the form could be more considered and what might be termed 'cultured' or orchestrated, leading too wonderful new modes of expression.

Sound quality is pretty good considering its vintage and excellent sleeve-notes complete what is a very desirable disc.

Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool
If albums are supposed to transfer you to entirely different places then this one is guilty of doing its job and doing it really well. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Anoosh Falak Rafat
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Album
Early Miles Davies, at his very best, a must have for any music lover
Published 2 months ago by Paul Galbally
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Jazz at its Coolest
Great tracks with melodies ranging from haunting to playful, arranged masterfully for an ensemble of all star musicians. What's not to like?
Published 4 months ago by Phillip Thorpe
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Influential
This year 2000 reissue of the original 1957 Miles Davis (nonet) album, which itself was a 'collection' of earlier sessions recorded over three separate dates in the years 1949 and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Keith M
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Days
Whilst there is a more comprehensive collection in 'The Complete Birth of the Cool' available this cost so little it was a real steal. Read more
Published 11 months ago by D J F
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic album
Classic trumpety, jazzy, cool, smoky, dank basement sort of music. Good introduction to jazz for jazz virgins. In a word? Nice...
Published 15 months ago by CharlieBoy
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice in spots.
Not really Miles, as he's in the middle of an inoffensive nonet. The first four tracks on his next album Conception, knock it's spots off.
Published 15 months ago by E. Coolican
5.0 out of 5 stars S miles
The best trumpet ever and such good company. I've never heard a miles davis album I didn't like. He's the man.
Published 23 months ago by Colin the Bear
2.0 out of 5 stars I might give it another go
I no longer have this album in my collection, for when I first heard It I was extremely disappointed. I found it much to jarring on the ears. Maybe it's just dated. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Axehack
3.0 out of 5 stars Personally not my favourite
For me this isn't Miles' best album but i guess it's important historically. I'm more of a fan ohis quintet years with Coltrane
Published on 3 April 2011 by Andrew
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