“All Blues” kicks off with a piano track that sounds a bit like it’s trying to emulate a train, that sort of busy and really repetitive thing like guys always tried with harmonicas. We are then treated to miles doing a little soloing with the saxophones doubling each other in the left and right channels. Miracles of stereo. This immediately feels more like a composition than the exploration of spontaneous melody that the previous three songs resemble, that doesn’t last though. The train bit dies down after not too long but the piano then seems to follow pretty close to the bass line while respective solos are traded back and forth between the trumpet and saxophones. This may be the most linear of all the album’s songs as there is a general pattern that is set at the beginning by the horns, which the bass and piano then take up as the horns escape to make all of their solos. The piano does deviate some but the bass and drums really don’t seem to wander away at all. That may have been boring to actually play, but this also was the time before drummers and bassists showed a whole lot of virtuoso tendencies. It strikes me as a boring wish then to be the drummer or bassist, but I digress. I feel bad because as much as I like the saxophone players on this record, I keep ignoring what they are up to to listen to Bill Evans’ playing. He doesn’t seem to be doing as much when Miles is playing but definitely has his own subdued solos happening under the saxes. His playing is really what’s doing the most for me on a lot of these pieces, this track is no exception. They do give him a few moments to go off on his own near the end, which is kind of nice. After this they slide back into the same bit they did at the beginning, the train sound on the piano is really backgrounded, maybe in order to make the piece feel like it’s drawing to a close.
This song was probably the least satisfying one of the album. It’s pretty great in its own right but it just grabs me a little less than the others do. Least satisfying is a really relative term then, I suppose.
Rating: 4 of 5