Miles Ahead And Miles Behind – Kind of Blue And Miles Davis Are Jazzing My Mind

For my friend Patrick… oh lover of jazz!!!

I played both trumpet and saxophone in grade school.  I currently play neither… Never stuck with either one.  I actually had my parents asking me to STOP practicing.

I still own my Dad’s old clarinet, the one he had as a kid, but it needs a tune up… and I don’t think I have it in me to learn.  To be honest, I had no interest in the clarinet… It was supposed to be a starting point and entre into the sax… Never happened.

I really want to play the uke and would love to learn the djembe drum, especially after seeing Vinx again last night.  So amazing.  He is such a beautiful person and a beautiful performer and one incredible musician.  I cannot even imagine what his vocal range is… He moves from a heart pounding bass to the most melodic and sweet highs… and plays it like a series of instruments… horns… upright bass.  And then the drumming.  Again, one instrument sounds like ten… Phenomenal and so deserving of a huge audience.

Coming back to my original point, I think part of the reason… and just part (I can be lazy)… is that I was never exposed to jazz, only band and marching band music.  Nothing against that kind of music, but it just did not inspire me to stick with the instrument.  I’m not saying I would have for sure… but come on… inspire the kids with music… all kinds of music…

As it is, I did not really discover Jazz ’til I got to college… and when I did, boy… I was hooked.

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Let’s put this in a little historical perspective… The year was 1959 and on August 17th, Columbia would release this record.

Bill Evans on keys, Jimmy Cobb on drums, Paul Chambers on bass bassist , and on saxophones John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley.  Y’all know how much I love Coltrane!!!

It is considered to be the best-selling jazz album of all time and #12 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time!!!

But what is on this record and the massive influence it continues to have on so many artists and genres is mind-blowing.

The original has a mere 5 tracks.  They added an alternate take of “Flamenco Sketches” in one re-release and then did a monster version with the 2-Disc, 21-track Legacy Edition.

Every song is iconic… every song is smoky and sultry… I can listen to this album anywhere and any place.  It is one of the defining moments of jazz for me.

I do not claim to know a lot about the intricacies of the music… who is doing what, when and why… I wish I knew more.  Yes, I took the immensely enjoyable music studies classes at Northwestern… and at least one jazz class, so I know a little… but for me, jazz is like wine.  It does not matter who made it or how much it costs, as long as I like it.  That is the most important thing.  Understanding the wine maker and the terroir and the provenance comes later, and yes it can enhance the wine and make it more easily understood and perhaps accessible… But we all must like that we like and be passionate about it.

I am deeply, truly and madly passionate about this record.

You may say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band said his “soloing on songs such as “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” comes from Miles and Coltrane, and particularly Kind of Blue. I’ve listened to that album so many times that for the past couple of years, I haven’t hardly listened to anything else.”

Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright has said that the chord progressions on the album influenced the structure of the introductory chords to the song “Breathe” on their landmark opusThe Dark Side of the Moon (1973).”

This one screams for vinyl and a big-ass, old-fashioned, awesome turntable and a huge, killer stereo system.

I LOVE MUSIC!

So start your weekend off right… ‘Cause I’m guessing this one might get you some, too… and it will keep you going for Miles and Miles and Miles!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Miles Ahead And Miles Behind – Kind of Blue And Miles Davis Are Jazzing My Mind

  1. The influences are like ripples from the stone dropping into a pond. Great piece Marc.

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