I do a lot of research about records at my father-in-law’s house. Because he lives 10 hours away, I have to squeeze all this education into the few days a year we visit.
While there, I pour through liner notes for personnel and production notes. I also look for pictures of other albums in an artist’s catalog. Most importantly, however, I love the opportunity to actually see some of his records that I doubted even existed in real life.
Sure, I’ve seen the cover to the original Birth of the Cool 10″, as it’s in the liner notes for the CD reissue. I assumed I’d have to wait and see the real thing in a museum, though. As it turns out, my father-in-law stumbed upon the 10″ in some warehouse in Miami for $10. He also has the first and second reissues of the album in the 12″ LP format. Interestingly enough, all three iterations of the album feature different track listings and artwork.
It is a really good album. The arrangements are, well…cool. The performances stand up well, even against Davis’ later, celebrated forays into modal improvisation. It was probably the first album to really propel Davis, Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan in to the spotlight. This was an album Capitol Records, after all, home to heavy hitters like Nat King Cole and Judy Collins. It was a big deal, and this week I play the Mulligan-penned tune from the album, “Jeru.”
Anyway, I think I saw the sun once in the past week. Is this what it’s like to live in Seattle, Washington, or Manchester, England? Sheesh.
- “Gleaming Endless Ocean” – Scarlet Youth (Breaking the Patterns | Homesick Music | 2009)
- “What Lies Before” – Highspire (Aquatic | Reverse Reverb | 2010)
- “Jeru” – Miles Davis (Birth of the Cool | Capitol | 1957)
- “Desert Island Discs” – The Jags (Evening Standards | 1980
- “Kites Without Strings” – The Seventy-Sevens (Pray Naked | Brainstorm | 1992)