Monday, 8 February 2010


awesome video

Not a lot of people know, that this guy [George Russell] actually inspired the greatest selling jazz album ever. His Lydian chromatic concept was read by Miles Davis [and others] after he'd ventured into his cool works. Jazz was changing from the days of simple changes where you'd improvise over certain chords [I VI ii V, or the likes]

Be-bop saw heavy extensions and alterations, with 'hot' syncopated comping and vastly dramatic scalic weavery by the solo-ists and composers. Cool saw the introduction of a softer side, exploring the sonority of instruments.

It was George Russell's book though, started Modal Jazz, which produced the best selling Jazz album of all time, Miles Davis' 'kind of blue'. The theory [briefly[ explores the conept of soloing with scales [horizontally] rather than dictated by changes [vertically] a concept previously not explored.

Miles David put together a band for a short session, only showing the musicians, sometimes, fragments of scales, no changes, not much direction. Bill Evan’s rich chordal explorations in Blue in Green, his quatral harmonies in So What [copied by everyone since] and beautiful floaty flamenco sketches, coupled with Miles’ gliding melodies, makes a timeless album.

This was a great band, and without the concept they would have produced an amazing album, but what is funny, is that it was a theoretical concept, that inspired Miles to gather these musicians. Only a young Coltrane, could have began to match Miles.

In short, Miles Davis has been there for the middle of be-bop, helped re-invent cool from a west-coast white thang, to a widely accepted, well documented mile-stone [no pun intended!] in jazz. He helped create modal, was a forefront of electric jazz fusion, and his last album was a venture into hip-hop when he died.

Take a moment to check his back catalogue

I am going to blog more Jazz [videos, modern and old, introspect, theories and the like] as I've been of the boil for a bit. This is a fitting start to it.

Watch this space

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