Thursday, May 12, 2011

Video of the Week: Miles Davis "So What"

So What is probably the most essential Miles Davis recording, and considering Miles' career, that's a bold statement on my part.

This song is the first track on Miles' "Kind of Blue" album. If you didn't know, Kind of Blue is the best selling Jazz album of all time (almost 4 million copies) and was released in 1959 to much praise.

The album is one of the first times that a Jazz album was solely made by playing in modes. Usually in Bebop in Hard Bop, soloists would improvise over chord changes; in modal jazz, improvisation is done by using modes of the key scale in the piece, with less emphasis (if at all) on chord changes. This opens up the player to play much more freely, and as Miles said it, it's a "Return to Melody".

As usual, Miles' is the definition of cool... his playing and stance is calm and focused. John Coltrane (on tenor sax) is also his usual self; concentrating while giving out as much emotion and notes as he can. Miles & Coltrane are the biggest giants in Jazz, and seeing them perform together on a rare video is amazing.

I also covered this song for the bass lessons. Pay my friends there a visit!

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