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The Blue Moment: Miles Davis's Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music

Richard Williams.
Publisher Norton  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.5 x 5.75 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780393076639
Pages/Publication Date 309/2010
Daedalus Item Code 21112
This item is not available.
"It is the most singular of sounds, yet among the most ubiquitous. It is the sound of isolation that has sold itself to millions," notes music critic Richard Williams of Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, the bestselling piece of music in jazz history and, for many listeners, among the most haunting works of the 20th century. Recorded in 1959 in nine miraculous hours, it is also, notoriously, the only jazz album many people own. Williams' history considers the album within its wider cultural context, showing how the record influenced such diverse artists as Steve Reich and the Velvet Underground, while identifying the qualities that make the album so uniquely appealing and surprisingly universal.

"[Williams] depicts the album affecting not just the subsequent work of its musicians but also that of the classical minimalist composers (Glass, Reich, etc.), rock experimentalists John Cale and Brian Eno, godfather of soul James Brown, and environmental composer supreme La Monte Young, among many others. Exceptionally lucid, completely spellbinding—a book omnivorous music lovers should adore."—Booklist

"Over 50 years ago, Miles Davis and his sextet walked into a church basement in midtown Manhattan that had been converted into a music studio. The album that emerged just nine hours later, Kind of Blue, not only changed jazz in a dramatic way, but it also changed popular music forever. As music critic Williams points out ... Davis introduced listeners in the Western world to a music suffused with a kind of mild exoticism that had its roots in Eastern philosophies. Many contemporary critics weren't exactly sure what to make of the album, but others recognized the powerful tremors that Davis's album sent through the music world. While the story of the making of the album has been well told before (as in Ashley Kahn's Kind of Blue), Williams traces the deep influence that the album had on a wide range of musicians, from John Cale and the Velvet Underground to Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, and Duane Allman. Williams's inspired reflections demonstrate the ways that luminous music can pervade other cultural forms and usher in momentous changes throughout all parts of culture."—Publishers Weekly

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