Monday, August 13, 2012

#23: Miles Davis - Birth Of The Cool (1957)

How can you not love Miles Davis? This question has been asked of me hundreds of times, and will probably be asked another hundred before I'm all said and done. I promise to get back to the normal format of reviewing albums in the near future, however, there's a few albums still left on the list of '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die' that I'm struggling to get through.

Without Miles Davis we would never have the classic Billy Madison moment, "If peeing in your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis." Other than that moment, I can't say that this legendary musician has had any real impact on my life. That's not to say he hasn't impacted those that I hold dear, I just can't listen to his music and appreciate it as much as the next jazz fan.

There's a few tracks on the album that I enjoy, such as Moon Dreams. Songs like this remind me why he's held in such a reverent light. There's a beautiful tone to the horns and much of the melodies (including the solos) are memorable and can be sung back. However, Miles Davis made a living on playing a lot of notes over a short period of time. I'm not doubting the man's ability in music theory, he's a billion times better than I'll ever be. However, just like listening to vocalists do vocal gymnastics on American Idol, I can't help but listen to some of Miles Davis' work as just him showing off.

The part that I'm most disappointed in is the rhythm section. While listening to other jazz albums I found that if I didn't care for a specific solo, I could focus on the drums, piano, or specifically the bass to hold my interest. During this album the rhythm section did nothing for me, it's all or nothing on the horns. There's no doubt that Miles Davis is an American icon, and there's no doubt that this is a historic album... It just doesn't do it for me.

This album was chosen from the book '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die' 12/1001

Tomorrow's Album: Mat Kearney's Young Love.

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