Clip | How Miles Davis Recorded "Kind of Blue"
Miles Davis didn't provide sheet music for his musicians during the recording of his iconic album "Kind of Blue." He said that "I didn't write out the music for 'Kind of Blue.' But brought in sketches 'cause I wanted a lot of spontaneity in the playing." American Masters Presents Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool February 25 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.
- [Technician] Start again please.
Here we go.
Number two take.
- [Miles] Wait one minute.
- I was probably the first one there
'cause I had to set up the drums.
So I had my drums, set 'em up
and waited 'til everybody else filed in.
He just came in with little notes that he had,
he didn't even have sheet music for that.
The only thing he'd tell me was like,
just swing, you know, just swing.
- [Miles] I didn't write out the music
for "Kind of Blue", but brought in sketches
because I wanted a lot of spontaneity in the playing.
I knew that if you've got some great musicians
they will deal with the situation
and play beyond what is there and above
where they think they can.
- The first part of "So What", (vocalizing).
Then Paul go into the bass, (vocalizing).
- (vocalizing) Man, that was the first thing
I ever heard from Miles.
Grabbed the record out of my father's
record collection, put it on.
First thing that catches your ear
is Paul Chambers playing that bass line.
("Kind of Blue playing)
- We can't even question the sacred texts
that we have, right, like you know,
I mean why is the bible the bible?
It's the bible, you know?
I mean, why is "Kind of Blue" "Kind of Blue"?
It's kind of blue, like it just is
and it changed the sound of jazz.
("Kind of Blue" playing)
- The cymbal crash had just started
so what I thought, I had overdone it.
It sounded louder than it should have been to me.
- And it seems to ring forever, but it
brings you right into the tune.
It's like you've hit the highway
and the rest of the tune just takes off.
("Kind of Blue" trumpet)