It is kind f a dreary fall morning here in Wisconsin. Perfect for listening to a some Cool Jazz. At the Star Maker Machine blog I was more than obliged with not one but two recordings of Miles Davis’ Jazz classic “All Blues”.
If you aren’t already familiar with “All Blues”, here’s what Wikipedia has to offer about this wonderful “little” piece of music:
It is a 12 bar blues in 6/8; the chord sequence is that of a basic blues and made up entirely of 7th chords, with a ♭VI in the turnaround instead of just the usual V chord. In the song’s original key of G this chord is an E♭7.
The piece is made even more distinctive by the bass vamp that repeats through the whole piece, except when a V or ♭VI chord is reached (the 9th and 10th bars of a chorus). Further to this, there is a harmonically similar vamp that is played by the horns (the two saxophones in the case of Kind of Blue) at the beginning and then (usually) continued by the piano under any solos that take place. Each chorus is usually separated by a four-bar vamp which acts as an introduction to the next solo/chorus.
In plain language, the essence of “All Blues” is simplicity itself. The sheet music takes up only about half a sheet of paper but from this musical skeleton the players weave about eleven minutes of total coolness.
In addition to Miles Davis’s own 1959 recording of “All Blues”— as important to Jazz lovers as a Beethoven Symphony — the Star Maker Machine presents an excellent cover version featuring a trio of Jazz guitarists.
If you are new to Jazz, this is the place to start opening your ears even on a sunny day.