Miles Davis - All Blues

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About Miles Davis

Miles Davis

  • Born in 1926 in Illinois, America. Died in 1991.
  • Played the trumpet - went on to become a band leader and a composer.
  • 1940s became bored of bebop as he didnt like the constant change in chords.
  • Bebop - fast with lots of improvisation- much less structured than swing - has complex harmonies.
  • He started composing music using fewer chords.
  • Miles' solos used: improvise using a tuneful melody - rather than lots of crazy runs. Play very lyrically. Based his improvisations on scales and have an overall key signature. Made the trumpet natural and pure (not forced). Often play in lower register.
  • 'All blues' came from the albulm 'Kind of Blue' this albulm was based on scales rather than chords - the musicians improvise freely.
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Key Features.

  • PITCH - all instruments keep to their middle and lower registers.
  • DURATION - All Blues lasts for more than 11 and 1/2 minutes.
  • DYNAMICS - the piece is guite subdued - most of it is moderately loud (mf), except for louder trumpet parts. The ensemble play quite when a soloist is playing. 
  • TEMPO - marked as a 'jazz waltz' - played at a moderate pace. 
  • TIME SIGNATURE - All Blues is in 6/4.
  • TIMBRE - (Timbre's the overall sound of the piece) it's very mellow. He uses a mute, ghost notes (notes that are hinted at rather than played) and rests in solos to make it more mellow.
  • TEXTURE - Simple texture. Wind instruments play in 3rds and 4ths - the piano and double bass play a simple riff and chords. Drum keeps a steady beat.
  • STRUCTURE - All Blues uses 12 bar blues chord pattern in G this repeats. Played under the solos and the main melody
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About All Blues

  • All Blues is mainly improvised.
  • Band is made up of: Trumpet, alto saxophone, tenor sexaphone, piano, double bass and drums. 
  • Trupmet, both saxaphones and the pianos have an improvised solo. Two saxaphones tend to play together.
  • At the recording session they had a very little idea of what to play. Miles gave them scales and melody lines to improvise and brief instructions. 
  • The whole albulm recorded in two sessions.
  • Each piece recorded in one take.
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The divided sections.

  •  8 bars long - made up of two, four - bar sections (intro 1 and intro 2)
  • In intro 2 - alto and tenor saxes play Riff B in 3rds. 
  • HEAD (32 bars)
  • Muted trumpet plays a 12 bar theme (saxes play Riff B in the background). Intro 2 followed by the theme - another repetition of Intro 2.
  •  4 solo sections each feature different instrument. Firstly - trumpet. Secondly - alto sax. Thirdly - tenor sax. Finally - piano. 
  • Trumpet solo & both saxophone solos - 48 bars. Piano solo - 24 bars. After each solo, Intro 2 is played ( piano plays riff B instead of saxes).
  • HEAD (32 bars)
  • 12 bar theme followed by intro 2. Play both bits twice
  • Finishes with a 12 bar outro - fades out. 
  • Saxaphones are playing Riff B, trumpet introduces new riff - RIFF C


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