science bastards

3 December, 2011

Kind of Blue, Vol.5, Blue in Green

Filed under: Authoritative Music Reviews, Miles Davis — sciencebastards @ 8:06 pm

“Blue in Green” is the albums shortest song at only 5:38, but it instantly doesn’t feel like a conceptual rehash of the first two songs.  This really feels like cool jazz in the stereotypical sense when it first begins.  Really quiet and shuffly drums with piano and bass accompaniment just feel like a bad movie conception of smoldery jazz.  Miles start to solo pretty fast and his horn cuts straight through everything.  You can tell he is using a mute and, despite an instant and childish association with the teacher’s voice from Peanuts, he really pulls some nice melody into what could otherwise be a pretty straight piece.  Again, his clarity and economy of playing are striking.  My favorite part of the song though is when he quiets down and Bill Evans steps up for his solo.  It comes right at the point where the progression hits a change, I’m loath to use the term “chord change” because this is modal stuff here. No chords!  I’m also no expert on whether he is going from major to minor or whatever but the chord seems to descend and he just seems to get it so perfect.  Again, as stated before, his soloing has a really inexplicable lightness to it that I find a bit mesmerizing to be truthful.  At some point it hit me that the piano, bass and drums are being utilized like before, holding down the basis of the song for solos to go on top of.  In this case though, the piano seems to be a transition between the solos as well as being a solo itself.  Evans is definitely stepping his playing up at these points to contrast his light and spacious playing while someone else solos on top of him.  It comes again after the sax solo that comes up next, Evans’ solos are short so they sort of indicate a bridge more than they do an actual solo.  They are the best part of the song as far as I’m concerned though.  Tonally and playing-wise they are just a real treat.  Miles comes back but by now I am more awaiting the return of the piano solo than enjoying Miles, not that he’s no good here.  Suddenly at about 40 seconds to go, everyone pretty abruptly just shuts down and Evans wraps it up with only a bit of bowed bass behind him that sound like really deep, quiet groans.  Texturally it goes perfectly with the sharpness of the piano and gives a sort of moody punctuation to the end of the song that is slightly uncomfortable, in a good way.  Maybe my favorite part of the record, and that’s in a ballad. Whoa.

Rating 4.5 or 4.75 of 5, I can’t make my mind up.

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