Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blank and Blues: All Blues

(Image by Wayne Potrafka)

Miles Davis: All Blues


Corey Christiansen, Jimmy Bruno, Vic Juris: All Blues


Miles Davis' tune All Blues is a jazz arrangement of a 12-bar blues. It first appeared on his 1959 Kind of Blue, which is on about a zillion Top Ten Jazz Albums Like Ever lists. The reasons for this are twofold: the tune itself is a intricate, lengthy improvisation based solely on chord scales, giving the musicians great freedom, and the players themselves were terrific artists at the top of their game. Let's see. Miles Davis, of course, on trumpet. Bill Evans on piano. Two stellar sax players: Cannonball Adderley on alto and the incomparable John Coltrane on tenor. Paul Chambers on base and Jimmy Cobb on drums. If I were to pick one single jazz song to play for curious alien visitors, this would be the one.

You know which musicians reaaally love to cover this? Guitarists! I'm looking at my not-all-that-extensive collection and even then, I've got covers by Larry Carlton, Pat Martino, George Benson, Stanley Jordan, Kenny Burrell, and Jim Hall. But the one I've chosen to share is by three - count 'em – three guitarists. I like this version because it's got that bluesy slide guitar intro that echoes the 12-bar blues origin of the song. Corey Christiansen is a professor of music at both Utah State and Indiana Universities, and he drops in to my town to play every so often. He's truly gifted and a nice guy to boot.

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