CD Review – The Birth of the Cool

The Birth of the Cool
Miles Davis


Written by Lloyd Capps

The birthplace of this album by the Miles Davis Nonet was a 1948 weekly late-night radio broadcast from a New York nightclub. Live performances, then known as Birth of the Cool, were recorded individually, but it was not until 1951 that the 12 single acetates were incorporated into a 10” long playing record.

The instrumentation was a deliberate move from the sounds of big bands and bebop: pairing trumpet and alto saxophone, baritone saxophone and tuba providing counterpoint, and trombone and French horn providing harmonies. This created a rich harmony, more lyrical, a gentler tempo, blending the horns rather than them playing off each other. This was the birth of cool.

The continued success of Birth of the Cool is largely due to inspired compositions and arrangements by Gil Evans, John Lewis, Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan. Birth of the Cool is of historic and artistic importance as well as being a great jazz collection.

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