All Blues: Miles Davis (Area of Study 3)

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  • Created on: 12-05-11 16:41
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All Blues: Miles Davis. Area of Study 3
Jazz this emerged in America around the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century. The track is
from the album Kind of Blue which was recorded in one studio session in 1959.
Trumpet Miles Davis
Alto Saxophone Cannonball
Tenor Saxophone John Coltrane
Piano Bill Evans
Bass Paul Chambers
Drums Jimmy Cobb
The piece is in 6/4 giving the music a waltz like feel. The first bar is marked swing quavers
meaning the first one should be played slightly longer than the rest.
The piece uses a head arrangement, which is the 12 bar chord progression often seen in
blues pieces.
Each repetition of the 12- bar progression is known as the chorus
Four bar intro riff, with drums, bass, and piano which plays a dissonant trill.
Then the main intro riff/link (4 bars) is played, where the saxes play a harmonised
(main tune) is played twice
Improvised Solos
Trumpet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano. Each new soloist is proceeded by
the 4 bar link played at the beginning
Played through twice again
The piece ends with a coda which consists of a final trumpet solo which fades out.
Uses chromatic harmony to colour the chords adding to the blues affect
Modal jazz so rather than relying on complicated chord patterns the harmony focuses on a
mode or scale so the improvised solos are freer.
Bars 9/10 of the 12 bar chord progression are altered chords
The pianist often changes the chord voicing to keep the repetitive chord sequence
interesting. This is called comping.
The Rhythm Section provides the harmony and rhythmic background for the piece (Drums,
Piano, Bass)
Frontline instruments are the saxes and trumpet
Swung quavers, jazz waltz 6/4, syncopated rhythms
G Mixolydian Mode

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All Blues: Miles Davis. Area of Study 3
The rhythm section remain simple and repetitive throughout, so they don't distract from the
The saxes play a simple riff in 3rds during the head
Most of the piece consists purely of soloist with rhythm section accompaniment
The overall timbre is mellow and subdued
Trumpet is muted in the head
Drums are played with brushes
Improvisations are based on overall tonality-scales or modes, rather than improvising over
the chord changes.…read more


Samuel Richardson

a great concise set of notes on 'All Blues' by Miles Davis. A set of questions follows the notes to make sure you can remember the important information. Maybe make these questions into a getrevising quiz to help others. 

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