Saturday, January 7, 2012

8.) Round About Midnight - Miles Davis (Top Jazz Picks '11)

Round Midnight
Miles Davis
Colombia Records.

As you might imagine, my first year listening to jazz encountered no shortage of Miles Davis personas to choose from, let alone the multitude of records available from each. There’s the Miles Davis who gave birth to the “Cool” in ’49, the rising star who split a marathon recording session into four classic records to skip record labels, the fusion-creating mystery behind In a Silent Way and the Avante-maestro responsible for Bitches Brew and Live Evil. In retrospect, however, Round Midnight seems like the ideal pick; not only does the LP capture Davis at the cusp of greatness, it introduced me to his singular sound. And for a man who has performed within so many chameleon-like transformations, that singular sound is something to marvel at.


Kill-A-DJ said...

Good pics, but seriously, no Kind of Blue? Too obvious? Too mainstream? :)

SCQ said...

Hey man,

Happy 2012!

You raise a good question. I failed to mention two other Davis LPs I bought last year, Sketches Of Spain and Quiet Nights, but Kind Of Blue is a major omission.

Approaching something that famous and fanatically loved put me at sort of a distance, although I do enjoy listening to it each time I play it. Part of my approach to jazz was avoiding some of the ubiquitous titles in favour of lesser known works I could "discover" on my own terms. It's a rule I broke several times over --most evidently with A Love Supreme -- but Kind Of Blue has been a great find nonetheless.

Any other titles you might recommend to a new jazz fiend?

Kill-A-DJ said...

I'm not an expert either, and only got into Davis and Coltrane over the last 5 years or so, so you and I are pretty much in the same boat when it comes to this stuff.
For Davis, beyond Kind of Blue, I really enjoyed Seven Steps to Heaven. Sketches of Spain is great. There's an album he did with Gil Evans (aside from Quiet Nights) called Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud (that was one of those records that people would, upon hearing I was getting into Miles Davis, recommend highly).
For Coltrane, I'm a fan of everything he did pre-Ascension. Blue Train is spun regularly in my house, as is Giant Steps. A Love Supreme is awesome, but you already knew that.
As for discovering on your own terms, I absolutely get that. I had Davis rammed down my throat in high school jazz band, promptly forgot about him for over a decade, and rediscovered him on my own terms. Made me actually enjoy it. :)