Double Post: Jazz & Blues
And now a very special episode of Radio KRUD. Well, not really. I’m just writing about two artists in one post. But we’re talking about some classic material here.
So let’s get started with jazz legend Miles Davis. One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and quite possibly of all time. He was constantly experimenting with jazz and creating new stylistic innovations within the genre. His music was so empassioned and unique that it has influenced musicians of all other genres.
But instead of going on the cliched rant about how awesome a musician he is, I’ll just pick out two songs of his that I really like and talk about those. First let’s start off with “All Blues,” a track from the classic album Kind of Blue, which was recorded in 1959. This is a very relaxed and easy-going song with Davis’s melodic trumpeting soaring over James Cobb’s breezy drumming, Wynton Kelly’s gentle piano, Paul chamber’s relaxed bass rhythms, and the swaying sounds of John Coltrane’s and Cannonball Adderley’s saxophones. But this is far beyond smooth jazz or easy listening; it expresses pure, improvised jazz emotion that is hard to come across nowadays.
Buy Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue
The next Miles Davis I’m posting is the title track from his album Filles de Kilimanjaro. For those who know nothing about the French language, that translates to “girls of Kilimanjaro.” And this songs sounds a lot different than “All Blues” or anything else from Kind of Blue. That’s mostly due to the fact that Filles de Kilimanjaro was one of Miles Davis’s first attempts at fusion jazz. In the title track, “Filles de Kilimanjaro,” you get Miles Davis’s emotive and relaxed style of jazz but with a different funky sound. Davis’s trumpet playing is even reminiscent of some of the rock ‘n roll sounds that were coming out around the time of this song’s recording, 1968.
Buy Miles Davis’s Filles de Kilimanjaro
And so now we move to blues and R. L. Burnside.
R. L. Burnside was born in 1926, but never received much attention as a blues artist until the 90’s when Fat Possum Records brought him into studio and started recording his raw brand of Delta blues. It’s great stuff and it’s shameful that he went unnoticed for so long. The only problem I’ve ever run into is when his albums suffer from over-production. “Georgia Women” is a great studio recording, “Shake ‘Em on Down” is a great live track, but you can tell that “Nothin’ Man” suffered from too much producer interference. It doesn’t have that down and dirty R. L. Burnside style. But that’s generally how it is with a good blues player; you should just stand back and let him do his thing. The output will not be disappointing.
Buy R. L. Burnside’s live album Burnside on Burnside