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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars27
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on October 25, 2001
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 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.
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on July 30, 2001
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.
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on November 20, 2001
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!
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on April 24, 2002
This band only played for a couple of weeks, and just a few tracks were recorded. Almost 10 years elapsed before these tracks were compiled in an LP for the first time. Neverthless, the music from those sessions is one of the greatest achievements in jazz. For Miles hardcore fans, every album is genious and essential and a cornerstone, but this one really is. And a good place to start a jazz or a Miles collection. The story of how the original master tapes were discovered almost 50 years after they were recorded only adds to the magic aurea surronding this CD. The other version available, 'the complete birth of the cool' did not use the original master tapes, and therefore is inferior in sound quality, and its only for completists.
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on May 2, 2000
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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on January 19, 2002
This album delivers a rapid fire of upbeat, catchy singles - none of which extend beyond 3 1/2 minutes. In addition, this CD contains live versions of many of the same studio songs from 1948.
I have a habit of listening to this CD at work, and it always draws the attention of my co-workers. People who don't even own a jazz album become interested in the music.
I'm not a historian of jazz music by any means, but I feel this album is a bridge between the early "big band" type jazz and the modern, abstract jazz perfected in Davis' later albums.
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on March 31, 2002
This album was a great bridge between the bebop that Miles played with Gillespie/Parker and Duke Ellington/Claude Thornhill big band style music. This became cool jazz, with Gerry Mulligan at the helm, who was a large part of this disc. Mulligan helped arrange much of this material, along with Gil Evans. This was the beginning of a great period between Miles Davis and Gil Evans. The remastered version makes for an even clearer look at great art.
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While later Miles focused on smaller groups and beautiful weavings of different tonalities, here, he is very young and quite assured handling 9-10 players and instruments not often found on jazz albums. Obviously aware of Diz's bop and the Big Band, Mile explores a third dimension, neither technical virtuosity nor kickin' dance songs but a place of melody, space, articulation, modulation, integration - and this was just the beginning!
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on April 29, 2002
I must start by saying that it is impossible to dare not to rate this with five stars.To give a small instance of the impact of this work, as a brazilian, I recognize in this album the strong influence that it had over brazilian music. I am also certain that Miles extended his influence all over the world. So if you are an american, be proud of it, and tell all the world: "America is the birthplace of The Cool".
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on August 11, 2013
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 to fruition on later works.
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