My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Birth of the Cool is actually a compilation album that was recorded in three sessions over 1949 and 1950 and were originally released as ten inch singles. The album wasn’t released until 1957. The original album only had 11 tracks, the 12th “Darn That Dream” was added in a 1971 release and has been present in every version since.
What I liked: I really enjoyed the “cool jazz” style that Davis and his “nonet” employ on this album. The songs are short (2-3 minutes), which if you have been reading this blog you know is my preference for jazz. “Venus de Milo” and “Rocker” are my favorites from the album. “Venus” has a nice groove and “Rocker” lives up to it’s name.
What I Didn’t Like: The album is famous for it’s ensemble sound instead of a solo voice or a call and response style. While that maybe true, I tired of hearing Davis’ trumpet so loud in the mix. I feel he is definitely at the lead and I wanted everything else to be brought forward from the background. I also feel the addition of “Darn that Dream” at the end of the album is a mistake. It’s the only song with vocals and really doesn’t feel like anything else here.
My Overall Thoughts: I’ve listened to Kind of Blue multiple times and haven’t been able to get into it very well, because of the lengthier songs and more experimental instrumentation (like Brilliant Corners it sounds like a warm-up session to me). It was really nice to hear some Davis’ music that I could really enjoy.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I do agree that it should be here. Having tried to listen to some Davis’ albums and never being able to get into them, I had sort of given up. I may have never given this album a try without the book.
Rating (Out of 5): 4
Amazon Review (Out of 5):4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (12/13)