Tuesday, May 26, 2020

"Kind of Blue" Period

I was gonna do something else today and do this one on the weekend, but it occurs to me that today is the appropriate day so here we go.
Obviously today would have been the 94th birthday of one Miles Dewey Davis III. 
But the other day we lost the last remaining player from Miles' 1959 Kind of Blue project -- pretty much considered the #1 Jazz LP in history -- and one of the bedrock drummers of the music in general. 
That famous story where Miles tells John Coltrane that if he needs a trick to finish off a solo, he might try taking the horn out of his mouth? Today's honoree -- who passed the other day at the tremendous age of 91 -- is where that story comes from. Because he was there.
He was there, all right. His steady, quarter-note pulse style animates a zillion more ultra-necessary albums too, giving him that most rare quality in percussionists: the ability to make you know who is playing four bars into the song without being told.
If you just say his name, what comes to mind is impeccable time and the supple backbone that brings the music to a whole other level of subtlety and fluidity.
You know that no instrumentalist in a band can fashion a solo worth the tape it's recorded on without that drive and accentual flow from the rhythm sectioneers.
But back to the granddaddy of them all and Kind of Blue.
Clearly everything that can have been said about such a seminal, universally revered platter has been said, so I won't try.
Other than to say that every second of bliss contained in its grooves would never have made it to wax in that form, were it not for the pure artistry of Jimmy Cobb.
What better way to honor his passing than on Miles' birthday, with this 66 minute rendition -- in the company of some truly heavyweight players -- of the entire record, taped at a festival in Switzerland 11 years ago?
Jimmy Cobb's So What Band
"Kind of Blue"
Jazznojazz Festival
Theaterhaus Gessnerallee
Z├╝rich, Switzerland
10.29.2009

01 So What
02 Freddie Freeloader
03 Blue In Green
04 All Blues
05 Flamenco Sketches

Total time: 1:06:33

Wallace Roney - trumpet
Vincent Herring - alto saxophone
Javon Jackson - tenor saxophone
Larry Willis - piano
Buster Williams - bass
Jimmy Cobb - drums

digital capture of a European digital FM broadcast
Imma be right back in 24 with another luminous Maestro who is, thankfully, still breathing.
But don't you dare miss out on this exquisite concert, as we commemorate the life and legacy of Jimmy Cobb -- indisputably one of our age's greatest drummers -- and his contribution to one of the greatest albums that shall ever be.--J.
1.20.1929 - 5.24.2020