Having been originally recorded in the 1950’s, thesenine cuts take the listener through a decade of music and a decade of Davis’life. On the opening track, entitled “Bluing”, we hear nearly ten minutes ofDavis on trumpet, Jackie McLean on alto sax, Sonny Rollins on tenor, WalterBishop, Jr. on piano, Tommy Porter on bass, and Art Blakey playing the drums. Bishop provides the intro of the song on the piano, with Blakey coming in soonafter. Nearly a minute in, Davis begins and is soon softly accompanied by thesaxes. Through the first five or so minutes of the tune, Davis enjoys a solo.
Heis then followed by the tenor and alto sax, respectively. I enjoy this trackmostly for the tone Davis achieves and the moderate tempo. However, duringRollins’ tenor solo and then again for the last minute or so of the song,Davis and the rest of the group pick up the pace and begin double-timing. In theend, for me, this track is made classic by a botched ending on the part of ArtBlakey.
If you listen closely you can hear Davis’ instant reaction: “We’llhave to play it again then, man. You know the arrangement. ” Obviously enough,Blakey doesn’t contribute to any of the other songs on the album. Another cutthat I enjoyed on this album is “Bags’ Groove”. Originally issued on MilesDavis and the Modern Jazz Giants: Bags’ Groove, this song opens with MiltJackson on vibraharp and also has a great vibraharp solo about three minutes into the over nine minute tune. Track five has come to be my favorite on the albumBluing.
Entitled “Green Haze”, this cut consists of Red Garland on piano,Oscar Pettiford on bass, Philly Joe Jones on the drums, and of course Davis withhis trumpet. Garland provides a great opening on the piano. Davis comes in alittle over a minute in to the tune and sets a very subdued mood with his warm,mellow tone and a slower tempo. Later on in the song the group picks it up a bitand begins playing double-time, only to slow it back down for a great bass soloby Pettiford. The entire song is background by the Jones’ stirring of a brushon his snare.
This gives the tune a very softened feel. It is this melodious andsoftened feel that makes me enjoy the tune so much. Before listening to thisalbum I had the idea in my mind that all blues was slow in tempo and portrayed amood of depression or sadness. After listening to these nine songs I see thatblues can be at any tempo at all, and can also create moods other than sadness. The second song on the album, “Blue ?N’ Boogie” is very up-tempo andactually makes me wish I knew how to dance jazz.
I was surprised to find that Iliked the faster songs on the album because in the past, though I have beeninvolved in playing music for many years, I’ve always enjoyed the slowersongs. Now on the other hand, I find myself wanting to start playing again so Ican have a chance to play some of these faster tunes that I have passed on inthe past. As for Miles Davis’ Bluing, I would recommend it to anyone wantingto hear some really good jazz. Prestige Records did a great job of choosing nineof Davis’ blues tunes to compile onto one disk.