Skip to comments.`Kind of Blue' at 50: Behind Davis' masterpiece
Posted on 10/07/2009 11:00:15 AM PDT by a fool in paradise
Jimmy Cobb could hardly imagine he would be making history when he arrived at Columbia Records' 30th Street Studio 50 years ago for the first of two recording sessions with Miles Davis.
"I was always enthusiastic about making records with Miles," said Cobb, who got to the studio before the other musicians to set up his drum kit. "I wasn't told anything about what the music was going to be."
Cobb ended up being part of the all-star sextet, plus one, that recorded "Kind of Blue," an album Quincy Jones (and many others) consider to be "one of the greatest records ever made."
Since its August 1959 release, "Kind of Blue" has ranked as one of the most influential and popular jazz albums ever with more than 4 million copies sold in the U.S. alone...
But in 1959, Cobb the last surviving musician in a group that included saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, and bassist Paul Chambers regarded it "as just another Miles Davis record date."
"It was relaxed and the guys always had fun around each other," said Cobb. "It had to be the talent, the music, the studio ... I don't know how that magic happens but it happened those two days."
...Today, the five tunes on "Kind of Blue" particularly "So What" and "All Blues" have become deeply embedded in the musical landscape. But at the March 2 and April 22, 1959, recording sessions, nearly all the tunes were new to the band members, who didn't even have a chance to rehearse them. Davis gave the musicians written sketches of the scales and melodies, offering brief verbal instructions about the feeling he wanted on a particular tune...
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Of course, the labels bill their performers for the studio costs and sometimes seek to keep them in debt to the production costs for years.
One of my all-time favorites!
I like Bill Evans.
One of my “desert-island” albums. It never gets old. BTT.
I like Gil Evans with Miles Davis.
Saw Miles in Jacksonville in '86.
KOB is arguably the greatest achievement in American arts of the 20th century.
Maybe the best album ever recorded, in 2 days no less, Genius, Miles, Coltrane, Cannonball, Philly Joe Jones, Cobb Winton Kelley....WOW
I still listen at elast once a week.
Steve was great at improvising songs (he could compose a song from any 3 keys).
So he went into the studio with Jack to provide musical accompaniment on piano to his readings.
They went along for about 45 minutes with the tape rolling. The engineer then asked when they wanted to do a second take and they said that they were done.
I have heard from jazz critics that Fats Waller and his combo once went to the recording studio and reeled off 12 numbers without a single retake. C:<()
I like this from Jack White: “Think of all the great records. Every time there’s a list of the hundred greatest records of all time, all those albums were recorded in two days. Hardly any of them took a year, I’ll tell you.”
He may be overstating a slight bit, although I would say most classics are in a few months at the most. Jack’s most famous album was finished in 10 days. In the same interview quoted above he talks about how having a lot of time in the studio to tinker can take away what made a song great in the first place. That when you go back and hear the demos of the song they sound better than what goes on the album.
He also said every recording studio in the world should have a sign saying Sgt. Peppers was recorded on 4 track. I tend to agree with that.
The Beatles spent weeks (6 weeks?) working on the Mono mix of Sgt. Pepper’s.
But the version the public is most familiar with is the Stereo mix (which the Beatles did not work on) and was completed in something like 2 weeks.
Yeah. I guess you can now hear the mono mix with the new reissues out. Might be worth a listen. All of the stereo remasters sound outstanding.
Dunno if this is your bag, but pinging you anyway.
Have the entire CD on my Ipod. My fave Davis work, along with “Jack Johnson.” Bitches Brew and Dark Magus are close seconds, with the latter being proto-metal, although a little self-indulgent.
Ditto, one of the best albums of all time, jazz or otherwise.
There is still great music being made with minimal studio tinkering. Just not pop music.
Everybody Digs Bill Evans..... ;)
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