Miles Davis – 1957, When Cool Became The New Hot

Posted: April 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

  1. Galen Bergsten says:

    I’ve had the pleasure of playing all of these in various jazz bands, which always seemed enjoyable at the time, though I never listened to the originals. There’s something so magnificently lively about Davis and his playing that really can’t be reproduced in the very effort of reproduction. It never dawned on me until this moment, but perhaps the very idea of a “school jazz band,” playing the classics of others arranged by someone at a desk job, defeats the very purpose of jazz? I mean, here we are playing notes on a page attempting to transcribe music that was played in the exact opposite fashion, with no pages or really notes. Just chords and jazz progressions. In this sense, I suppose it wouldn’t be too harmful to describe jazz sheet music as the epitome of kitsch? A musical medium trying to convey something not local to that medium and pretending to be something it’s not. I don’t think jazz was ever meant to be written down, even if it is in a different language than traditional music. I wonder what Davis would have said if he could (quite literally) see his music now.

  2. Elizabeth Izampuye says:

    There are many aspects of jazz music that make it such a unique genre of music. It’s unfortunate that nowadays the only time you hear it is in the elevator, on the phone when you are on hold, or at one of the few jazz clubs that exist. I’ve never had a deeper appreciation of jazz and jazz musicians until I saw La La Land (which is probably the worst way to get to know jazz, as I am aware!) I realize it holds so much cultural significance and history. The person who commented on this last year mentioned that school bands playing jazz music defeats the purpose of jazz because it is essentially scripted and not improvised. I will say that I think there is a value of playing classic jazz songs at school. It brings an appreciation of the genre to students who would otherwise not care. At my school, seeing the jazz band perform during assemblies was always a highlight. Some students would improvise and be met with loud applause, some of the guys (who aren’t dancers) would do a little dance and be met with loud applause, and some of their jazz renditions of mainstream songs, would be met with loud applause. Seeing them play I used to wonder why they looked to deep in concentration because they would always close their eyes and scrunch up their eyebrows, as I see Miles David doing. I assume it’s because they are concentrating to get the notes out as best they can. Of course jazz players nowadays realize they can never be like the originals, but they have an appreciation for these classics songs, and want to make sure they are showcased, not hidden.

    • I learned to improvise in high school. I wasn’t especially good at the time. But just trying taught me valuable lessons. One was to greatly appreciate those who were fluent improvisers, and I was fortunate to know many. Interesting to note that when neuro-science rearchers want to study the most active brains, they invariably turn to jazz pianists.

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