Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Kind of Blue

Dr. Bob Prescribes Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

We must contemplate the weighty. Jazz is, by its very nature, a conversational and dynamic art form, in which performers improvise on a chord progression or on a series of scales (the latter called “modal jazz”). In theory then, as in a spontaneous oration, there is no “right” or “wrong” in a jazz performance, just better or less better choices. Consequently, a given jazz performance is just one of a virtually infinite number of possible jazz performances. The fluidity, spontaneity, and variability of the art constitute the very core of its nature. Which brings us, then, to the potentially problematic issue of a “studio jazz recording.” We backtrack, momentarily. There are two sorts of jazz recordings: live recordings and studio recordings. A live jazz recording captures a particular moment in time, a “slice of musical life”: a “slice of musical life” aided, abetted, inspired, and magnified by the presence of an audience. But a studio recording is another thing altogether. A studio recording is an object: an edited, multi-take, often over-dubbed document that seeks to create as perfect a performance of a piece of music as possible. In the concert world, in which compositions are entirely notated (scripted!), this means […]

Continue Reading