3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Be In Every Collection
Nine musicians. Twelve songs. One of the most influential records in jazz.
The year was 1948. Miles Davis had moved away from Charlie Parker's band and struck out on his own. Neither a virtuoso like Parker, nor a genius theoretician like Dizzy Gillespie, nor a showman like Louis Armstrong, Davis sought a way to define his own "voice," to make it substantially...
Published on May 28 2004 by Phrodoe
2.0 out of 5 stars A Complex
Perhaps it's been built up too much over the years but on finally listening to this album after hearing all the praise I was underwhemled. There is too much meandering, too much drifting, and the quality of the recording, even given the standards of the day, is suspect. There is certainly genius at work in places and I can see where ground-breaking thoughts are brought...
Published 3 months ago by eeyoore
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have.,
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)For any fan of Jazz, Classical or Miles... you must buy this album. The new RVG remastering shines clearer light on this revolutionary masterpiece (it single-handedly sparked the entire "cool" west-coast Jazz movement, bringing to bear artists such as Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz and Dave Brubeck). Never harsh, always swinging, this magnificent blend of improvisation and composition (the voicings are simply ecstatic!) is truly unique - no other album or band in the history of music has sounded quite like the group put together for this recording. The lines are intricate, harkening back to the Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie Be-Bop recordings of the early 40's (which preceded this album, more-or-less), but are taken with a swinging, sing-song, sensual, casual mood and style that is guaranteed to take the edge off. And to imagine, it was Miles' first REAL debut as a leader!
5.0 out of 5 stars My appreciation grows with time,
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)Like many newcomers to Jazz, the first recording that I really connected with was "Kind of Blue". (At the time, I thought I was special. Only later did I realize how stereotypical I was.) Until I listened to that disc, to my ears, Jazz was Jazz...it all kinda sounded the same.
The more I listened, the more I realized that the cool sounds of Miles and Mulligan were what I enjoyed the most.
As I sought out more information and more music from Davis, everything pointed me towards Birth of the Cool. I even went to a "Jazz store" to buy it. I remember being prepared to be blown away on the first listen. It didn't happen. It's not that kind of disc.
Only after listening to it over time do you get the true appreciation for how excellent it is. But now, it's one of the few disks that stays in the CD changer while the other flavors of the week come and go.
5.0 out of 5 stars Birth of the Cool Indeed,
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)It was during the 1940s that Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were responsible for the bebop evolution/revolution that changed jazz forever. As that decade ended, Miles Davis (formerly from Parker's band) founded one of the two distinct styles that resulted from the "splitting" of bebop - the other, of course, was hard-bop. With this recording, Miles showed the world what "cool" jazz was supposed to be. The contributions of Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan were absolutely essential to that, and the final result was this album filled with astounding compositions and marvelous arrangements. (Kenny Hagwood's singing in "Darn That Dream" sounds pretty odd, though. I guess Johnny Hartman wasn't in town. A pity.) The fact that Miles Davis, who "created" cool jazz, also became a major hard-bop star is not ironic at all: that's just how complete his talent was.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant ensemble musicianship on "Cool",
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)An album that has earned it's place as one of the cornerstones of modern jazz is "Birth Of The Cool". Recorded right after his stint playing and recording with Charlie Parker, Miles assembled an incredible group of musicians including Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, John Lewis, Kai Winding and Max Roach. The interplay between these guys is amazing!! The standout tracks include "Venus De Milo", "Jeru"(both penned by Gerry Mulligan), and "Rouge"(by John Lewis). These twelve songs originally released on 78's in 1949 and 1950 were eventually released as an album by Capitol in 1957. Upon picking up this reissue I was surprised to find out that the original first generation master tapes had not been used since Rudy Van Gelder cut the 78 lacquers all those years ago. For recordings that were cut in mono over fifty years ago the sound is so open and clear that it's incredible. This one comes highly recommended. Not only a major highlight in Miles Davis' career, but for jazz music too.
5.0 out of 5 stars it doesn't get any better than this,
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)About two years ago, Capitol Jazz released The Complete Birth of the Cool. At that time, it was the definitive version of an album that has been hailed as one of the true greats in the jazz pantheon. The sound quality was better than any previous release, and the booklet was chock full of informative essays, photos, etc. What no one knew at the time was that the original master tapes had been sitting in the vault, untouched.
When Rudy Van Gelder went to prepare a new edition of the album for Japanese release, he discovered the original session reels. As you can imagine, the difference in sound quality is astonishing. As producer Michael Cuscuna explains, "This was the first time that Rudy had worked on these particular recordings, and he was surprised to find that every version subsequent to the original LP had used the 1957 12-inch master. But the original master tapes of each performance still existed, and they revealed significant improvements in sound."
Blue Note's Tom Evered added, "To set the record straight, we would not have issued the Birth of the Cool RVG if Rudy had not found the session tapes. We were not eager to issue a third edition of the BOTC but we felt we had to given the improved sound." Anyone familiar with the album prior to this new release will notice the difference in sound immediately. It's much more vivid and full, allowing you to fully appreciate the complexity of the nonet's arrangements. It's like you're hearing the music for the first time.
This brings us to the all-important question: which one do you buy? The answer is simple--both. The booklets in both are excellent (with different material in each). The sound quality on The Complete Birth of the Cool isn't as good (although it's definitely not bad), but it contains all of the available live tracks from the group's performances at The Royal Roost. The RVG version doesn't have the live tracks, but it has better sound. The choice is yours. Whichever you decide, The Complete Birth of the Cool is an essential part of any jazz collection.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Jazz -- Miles Davis,
By A Customer
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)Miles Davis deserves to be called the greatest trumpeter in the world. It's amazing how he created his own brand of COOL JAZZ and in such an early time of recording history. From here on he continues to offer us great performances for the next 40 year!
5.0 out of 5 stars As Important as Kind Of Blue,
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)this Disc is a Classic that just gets better with time.i enjoyed this as much as Kind OF Blue.the Playing here is really Crisp&Cool.Why this set doesn't get as much Love I don't know?this is a Must Have.Miles Shines on this always Challenging Himself.a must have.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best this classic has sounded in decades,
By A Customer
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)"Birth of the Cool" was where Miles Davis made his first mark in jazz. Possibly the most influential jazz artist of all-time, Miles was on the forefront of the music for several decades, essentially steering its path during that time, and with the landmark recordings that make up this CD, Miles Davis (as well as Gerry Mulligan and Gil Evans, who deserve just as much credit) gives birth to "cool" jazz. Though it has had a few detractors who've dismissed it as 'boring' and 'bland,' a majority of listeners are really taken by what Davis & Co. have accomplished here. That nonet only recorded 12 pieces in the studio, and the whole dozen have been collected in this remarkable compilation.
Davis's lyrical, anti-virtuoso trumpet finds a beautiful soulmate in Gerry Mulligan's baritone sax (who also had a huge hand in writing much of the material as well). The recordings are most famous for the arrangements Evans, Mulligan, and a few others have given the music; elegant and sophisticated, it charts new territory in "big band" music, something that would ultimately lead to the quasi-orchestral music produced by Davis and Evans in the late 50's and early 60's.
A few years ago, it was thought that the definitive version of "Birth of the Cool" was released on a CD titled "The Complete Birth of the Cool," a remastered disc that also contained live radio performances of the music. However, recently, famed recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder discovered the original master tapes that were used for the original 78's (all 12 tracks were initially released as 78's; they weren't compiled on to an album until several years later). As it turned out, every Lp and CD of the album since then were made from Lp masters that were essentially safety copies. Capitol was reluctant to remaster this material after just doing so, but supposedly Van Gelder convinced them to do so due to the quality of the masters. Now remastered and reissued under Blue Note's RVG Series, this latest edition is simply incredible to listen to. Far better than older editions of this CD, it even outstrips the "Complete Birth of Cool" disc.
If you haven't bought this music yet, this new RVG edition is definitely the one to get on the basis of sound. "The Complete" does have those radio performances, but while they are of obvious interest to lifelong jazz enthusiasts, I wouldn't call them essential.
5.0 out of 5 stars 2001 Remaster Of Birth Of The Cool - YES!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Birth Of The Cool (Audio CD)This is unquestionably five star music listening to history in the making. The flies on that wall in 1949 were very lucky indeed. This CD contains some of the most joyous music that Miles has ever made and judging by the session notes by Gerry Mulligan and the session picture, it looks as if everyone involved is having a blast. I also have the "Complete Birth Of The Cool" and the question might come up whether or not to buy this release if one owns "Complete". I am glad to own both. "Complete" has more liner notes and the 12 live cuts found nowhere else. This new Rudy Van Gelder edition has improved sonics remastered from the original tapes for the first time on CD. The hiss is noticably lessened and the music is sharper all around from top to bottom. A great recording, considering it was made over fifty years ago. Until "The Complete Birth Of The Cool" is remastered using original tapes, one should buy this release first, and "the Complete" second to obtain the live tracks.
5.0 out of 5 stars His Best,
This review is from: Birth of the Cool (Audio CD)For more than 20 years I have listened and re-listened to this album. As much as I might appreciate some of his later directions (I love the quartet with Hancock, Shorter, Carter, & Williams), I believe that, for feel-good jazz and sophisticated arrangements, Miles never again reached the pinnacle that he reached when he led this band in his early 20's.
Konitz is his usual fluid, cool self. Mulligan is great. John Lewis - the Basie of Bop. Miles fumbles a little (I always felt there was a sloppiness to his playing).
After 50+ it's still influencing musicians. Can anything more be said?
I'd also recommend Mulligan's re-recording, from 1992, The Re-Birth of the Cool
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