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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic
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...
Published on 23 Dec 2010 by TR

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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 16 months ago by E. Coolican


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic, 23 Dec 2010
This review is from: Birth of The Cool (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
By 
Martin Lowe (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Birth of The Cool (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
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This review is from: Birth of the Cool (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
4.0 out of 5 stars The Birth Of The Cool: Miles Davis - Historically important recordings from some of Jazz's finest, 19 Mar 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Birth of The Cool (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. I say 11 tracks because the sole vocal track (the album closer `Darn That Dream') is, for me, a real dud that should have been left out as it is totally at odds with the mood of the rest of the album.

Greater things were to come in the form of `Kind Of Blue' and `In a Silent Way', where Miles had the longer time on record to really stretch out and sublimate his musical vision, but this is still pretty strong stuff. It is also an important document in the history of Jazz, as it lays down the foundations for the biggest movement of the latter part of the twentieth century. 4 stars.
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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
By 
os - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Birth of The Cool (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Influential, 23 Oct 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Birth of The Cool (Audio CD)
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 1950, whilst making for highly impressive listening in its own right, is now rightly regarded as one of the most influential jazz recordings of its era. Not only did Birth Of The Cool (probably too self-aggrandising, not to say meaningless, a title to be honest, despite the album's later significance) serve to lay the groundwork for some of the key phases of Davis' own musical development (most notably his collaboration with Gil Evans, who also assumes some of the composing and arranging duties here) but also a good deal of small band jazz that followed, as well as some of the more expansive developments of the likes of Charles Mingus - all the more remarkable to think that band leader Davis was only 23 at the time!

Here the three incarnations of Davis' nonet, of which his horn and Gerry Mulligan's baritone sax are ever present (and, arguably, most influential), along with Lee Konitz's alto sax and John Barber's tuba, serve to create an intoxicating band sound, in which improvisation and pre-arrangement strike a near perfect balance, and the use of polyphonic 'harmony playing', across the instruments, was revolutionary for the time (and helped achieve Davis' ambition that the instruments should sound like 'human voices singing').

Of the 12 tunes included (all running to around 3 minutes), Mulligan takes the most prominent role in terms of arrangement (Godchild, Deception, Jeru, Venus De Milo, Rocker and Darn That Dream), whilst he (Jeru, Venus De Milo and Rocker) and Miles (Budo and Deception) also penned the most numbers. Although, for me, there is virtually not a weak moment here (although Darn That Dream, with Kenny Hagood's vocal does feel slightly out of place), if I had to pick favourites I would opt for the vibrant opener Denzil Best's Move (featuring a great solo from Konitz), Evans' beautiful arrangement of Moon Dreams (like something straight off Miles Ahead), the exquisite tone from Davis' horn on his own composition Deception, the seamless ensemble playing on Mulligan's Rocker (and the man's baritone 'break') and the intoxicating swing of John Lewis' Rouge (featuring a nice piano solo by the man himself).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Days, 8 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Birth of the Cool (Audio CD)
Whilst there is a more comprehensive collection in 'The Complete Birth of the Cool' available this cost so little it was a real steal. Featuring both sides of six 78rpm singles these were Miles' first ventures leading a band in his own right. Whilst the sound can fairly be called historic it is very listenable and well digitised. It's great to hear the genius that was Miles Davis before he released a series of simply classic albums throughout the 1950's. A worthwhile purchase but maybe not the ideal starting point if you are just getting into 'The Man with the Horn'
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cool, 10 Aug 2014
This review is from: Birth of the Cool (Audio CD)
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. All the sights, smells, recreated and presented to you in sound, the sound of a vibrant 50’s Jazz scene. Not that I was there of course, but through the music you imagine a golden age (even if historically you know that ‘golden ages’ are merely illusions of history).

The album itself is laid back and bursting with possibilities, with everything swinging at just the right tempo to be strongly hypnotic, entrancing you further with every song. It is miles away from his later, more well known stuff but it is no less worthy and should be held just as highly as an important part of the history of music.

I found it good to listen to Miles Davis albums while also reading ‘Miles: The Autobiography’.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool and Blue, 11 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Birth of The Cool (Audio CD)
The cool ooozes out of this great Miles classic. Surely, together with Kind of Blue, a must have...
And if you liked this one, check out Gerry Mulligan's "Rebirth of cool"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I listen to it all the time., 9 Aug 2009
By 
Daniel Alheiros (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Birth of The Cool (Audio CD)
He's one of the greatest and this album was a worthy addition to my collection.
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Birth of The Cool
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