Miles Davis: Rocker




Miles Davis Nonet


Birth of the Cool (Capitol Jazz RVG Edition 30117)

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Miles Davis (trumpet), J.J. Johnson (trombone), Lee Konitz (alto sax), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), John Lewis (piano), Max Roach (drums),

Gunther Schuller (French horn), Bill Barber (tuba), Al McKibbon (bass)


Composed by Gerry Mulligan


Recorded: New York, March 9, 1950


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

"Rocker" exemplifies Gerry Mulligan's linear thinking versus chordal block writing. ("Thank goodness," he once told me, "I was never a slave to chord changes.") Gerry creates some soft dissonances as the voices move, but they go by so quickly so that the ear is not disturbed by the sound, and hears a non-moving melody against moving parts. Mulligan later arranged this for Charlie Parker with strings, and wrote a big band version for Elliot Lawrence (although he complained that the tempo on the Lawrence recording was too fast). Davis, Konitz and Mulligan solo. And just to set the record straight, "Rock Salt" was the original title of this piece, according to a conversation I had with its composer in 1995 when I prepared lead sheets of his music for a play-along book-CD project.

Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof

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