'All Blues' - All you need to know

  • Created by: esumner
  • Created on: 29-03-15 18:46


- From album 'Kind of Blue' - recorded in three 3 hour sessions in New York

- Released in 1959

- Modal Jazz genre

- Album was recorded on almost no rehearsal

- Jazz originates from African slaves in America

- Miles Davis is a famous Jazz trumpeter

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Forces and Instrumentation:

 - Band is a sextet - 6 players

- Frontline = Trumpet (Miles Davis), Alto Sax (Julian Adderley), Tenor Sax (John Coltrane)

- Rhythm Section = Piano (Bill Evans), Bass (Paul Chambers), Drums (Jimmy Cobb)

- Frontline play melody line and have prominent melodies 

- Rhythm Section provides harmonic and rhythmic backing

- Trumpet is often muted

- All instruments use middle and lower ranges

- Bass plays pizzicato

- Piano plays tremolo at the start, and comps the solos

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- Based on 12 bar blues progression: G7, G7, G7, G7, Gm7, G7, G7, G7, D7, Eb7/D7, F/G, F/G6

- Each progression lasts 12 bars and is called the chorus, each are improvised by a soloist

- Main melody is the head

- A simple 4 bar riff in parrallel 3rds separates each section

- Each frontline instrument has its own solo while the other instruments comp underneath

- 5 main sections:

1. Intro: opening 4 bars played by the rhythm section, followed by the riff

2. Head 1: head melody, followed by riff, played twice

3. Solos: for frontline and piano, each followed by the riff

4. Head 2: head melody, followed by riff, played twice

5. Coda: solo for muted trumpet

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- Mostly improvised

- Lots of ornaments

- Based on very simple motif

- Played by frontline instruments

- Scale and arpeggio patterns

- Chromatic at times

- Virtuosic

- Head melody is characterised by rising 6ths

- There are  4 improvised solos

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Rhythm, Metre, and Tempo:

- 6/4 metre

- Fast tempo

- Syncopated rhythms

- Drums provide constant improvised syncopated snare part

- Drums also keep steady beat throughout on ride cymbal

- Swung rhythms are used

- 3 beat division gives a walts like feel 

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Harmony and Tonality:

- G major with a flattened 7th

- Piano provides chordal accompaniement 

- The chord sequence is called 'The Changes'

- G major is the same as the mixolydian mode

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- Melody dominated homophony

- Simple texture

- Wind instruments play in 3rds and 4ths

- Piano and double bass play simple riff and chords

- Drum keeps a steady beat

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Dynamics and Expression:

- Trumpet is often muted in solos

- Swing notes are used to create swung rhythms

- Crescendos are followed by diminuendos

- Quite subdued

- When soloist is playing, other instruments are quieter

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