Birth of the Cool is a compilation album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released in February or March 1957 on Capitol Records. It compiles eleven tracks recorded by Davis’s nonet for the label over the course of three sessions during 1949 and 1950.
Featuring unusual instrumentation and several notable musicians, the music consisted of innovative arrangements influenced by classical music techniques such as polyphony, and marked a major development in post-bebop jazz. As the title suggests, these recordings are considered seminal in the history of cool jazz. Most of them were originally released in the 10-inch 78-rpm format and are all approximately three minutes long.
(1) “Move” (Denzil Best, arranged by John Lewis) – 2:29
(2) “Jeru” (Gerry Mulligan) – 3:10
(3) “Moon Dreams” (Chummy MacGregor, Johnny Mercer, arranged by Gil Evans) – 3:13
(4) “Venus De Milo” (Mulligan) – 3:10
(5) “Budo” (Miles Davis, Bud Powell, arranged by John Lewis) – 2:31
(6) “Deception” (Davis, arranged by Gerry Mulligan) – 2:46
(7) “Godchild” (George Wallington, arranged by Gerry Mulligan) – 3:08
(8) “Boplicity” (Cleo Henry, arranged by Gil Evans) – 2:58
(9) “Rocker” (Mulligan) – 3:04
(10) “Israel” (Johnny Carisi) – 2:15
(11) “Rouge” (John Lewis) – 3:13
Review: There is no denying Miles Davis is one of the biggest assholes in the history of music. He loved drugs, booze, and whores. But he was also one hell of a musician and musical arraigner. “Birth of Cool” is one of the most perfectly arranged albums of all time. Just listen to “Jeru”. My god. The entire band is totally on point. Having people like Junior Collins, and Kai Winding, and Lee Konitz on the album? It’s like a who’s who is amazing jazz musicians at the time.
Schill Score: 8.5/10
Listen to The Album on Spotify