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Ko-Ko – Duke Ellington and All Blues – Miles Davis

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Introduction

ALL BLUES - MILES DAVIS All Blues is a member of pieces from 'Kind of Blue'. There are five pieces, entitled All Blues, Blue in Green, So What, Freddy Freeloader and Flamenco Sketches. The recording features Miles Davis on trumpet, Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley on alto sax, John Coltrane on tenor sax, and a rhythm section made up from Paul Chambers, James Con, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly. This piece comes from the era of 'cool' jazz, around the mid 1930s to 1940s. This piece is written in G major, in 6/8, but sometimes has the feel of 3/4. The piece starts with a 4 bar piano introduction trill. This then leads on to the head, which is 4 bars of sax and then 12 bars of trumpet over the top. The head is played twice, and then there is a trumpet solo for 48 bars, with a 4 bar turnaround. ...read more.

Middle

Adderly makes uses of regular swing quaver phrases, with fast bebop runs and heavily syncopated rhythms. He covers much of the range of the instrument, contrasting with Davis' solos small range. His sound is warm and flexible with a slow vibrato. Coltrane spends much time in the upper register of the instrument. He was responsible for greatly extending the technique of the tenor sax, reflected in his repetitions and fast runs. The piano reflects Davis' simple style, in contrast to the building of complexity in the saxophone solos. Evans uses simple motives, and uses spaces in the solo. He also develops the accompanying part into a soloistic idea. The last four bars wind down gently, quoting the theme to introduce its return. Ko-Ko - Duke Ellington Duke Ellington was without doubt the greatest musician to emerge during the inter-war years, and jazz men and classical musicians alike admired him. He established himself during his band's residency at New York's famous Cotton Club in the years 1927-31. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ellington continues his progression with crescendo form, this time with the trumpets breaking off from the rest of the band, still using the same motif, but now there is more counterpoint. There is now a rise in dynamic level, and instruments are using more extreme parts of their range to create greater tension. Reeds and Brass are answered by a solo bass, which becomes a form of a bridge passage, with a slight relief to the tension that has been built up. The dynamics are less, and the texture is a lot thinner, including a solo bass fill in response to the reeds and brass playing a variation on the original theme. It also builds up the tension again with pyramid chords. The coda of the piece is an extended version of the introduction. This starts exactly as the introduction, dying away with a diminuendo in the 7th and 8th bars. In the final four bars, the trombones continuing the melody are drowned out by the rising pyramid chords from the trumpets and saxes. The rhythm section becomes far more prominent here as well. ...read more.

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