Birth of the Cool – Miles Davis (1957)

Album no. 12/1001

Birth of the Cool is a pretty big deal in jazz circles. And it’s certainly a jazz album.  

And by that I mean it’s impenetrable and difficult. Miles Davis has a couple of other albums that appear on the 1001 albums list too – Kind of Blue, In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew – so that’s something to look forward to.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: No, I have not.

NK: I going to take a wild guess and say that if it’s a jazz album, I will not have listened to it ever. I think the only jazz I have in my itunes is the bad plus, and I found them because they cover pop songs. Sorry jazz.

Standout track?

CL: I think ‘Jeru’ but mostly because it just sounds a lot like this song’ from Fallout (which I actually like a lot better – Sorry Miles). Although ‘Venus de Milo’ is goes alright too. I definitely prefer the songs that have a recognisable beat.

NK: ‘Move’! The drum fills are sweeeeeeeeeeeet. ‘Rouge’ is alright too, but I got really excited after ‘move’ and none of the others really did it for me.

When would be the best time to listen to this ?

CL: I don’t know. When’s the best time to listen to a lot of really good musicians playing music that is supposedly really good, but that I personally just don’t enjoy? It’s a tough call. But if the eponymous Adam Sandler movie Billy Madison taught us anything, it was the indisputable ‘coolness’ of Miles Davis.

“If peeing your pants is cool, then consider me Miles Davis.”

Good call, old lady

NK: This is music to cook a soup to! It’s good for when you’re chopping everything up. Not sure why, but that’s what I did, and it worked a treat! I felt extremely sophisticated.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: Maybe someone who really likes Miles Davis can tell me? I’m being genuine here, I’d love to know what people get out of albums like this, because they just don’t seem to resonate with me. And yes, I know I am an uncultured swine, please don’t tell me again.

NK: I was not sure either! I preferred this to Thelonious, but I still wasn’t crazy about it. This album invented, or at least helped invent, ‘cool’ jazz, but that does not mean a lot to me. I’m keen to hear more Miles down the track though.

Will you be listening again?

CL: I find jazz like this difficult. And that may well be the point – it’s difficult music, for the keen listener to really hone in on – but it doesn’t do anything for me. I kinda wish it did. But at this point, no.

NK: I might go back and check it out after some other Miles Davis to compare it. Or I might dig it out next time I’m making soup!

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK:This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Out of context youtube comment

12 - Birth of the cool

Listen to Birth of the Cool on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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