1001 Albums: Birth of the Cool




Artist: Miles Davis

Album: Birth of the Cool

Year: 1957

Length: 35:29



“prout prout prout” (trumpet noises)

Hello Jazz, my old friend, was nice of you to join us once again after a brief (one album that was also Jazz, but a different kind) break from you. And another instrumental too, you really know how to get me going Jazz. And you know what Jazz? this time, you were pretty cool. Pretty damn cool.

I can see why this was called Birth of the Cool, other than the obvious and very literal reason that this album (and Miles Davis) was what jump-started the sub genre of cool jazz, because it’s pretty damn cool from start to finish.

But… what exactly is cool? What does it mean to be cool? What makes something (or… someone) cool? I remember growing up, when I was in elementary school and the weird things that were supposedly considered “cool”. I wasn’t I’ll tell you that, I was a tiny kid with hyper, goofy tendencies, that was definitely the complete opposite of cool. Heck I was so uncool, I had a friend, who apparently was kinda cool, who used to tell me that when the cool kids were around he wasn’t my friend and when they weren’t he was.

Is that what being cool is?

I mean, he also used to hide in the recycling bin and pretend he was Pikachu… if he was kinda cool, then was doing that considered cool? Seems fucking weird to me… and that’s coming from me.

Gameboys were cool and so was Pokemon… I had all that… but wasn’t considered cool… I wonder why? Maybe it wasn’t the possessions then. But then this other guy was super cool because he had a Playstation… am I missing something?

I can tell you what wasn’t cool, Reading, getting good grades and liking Winnie the Pooh, these were all things that got you picked on and laughed at. Sounds backwards to me, why were the brutish apes considered cool but not the rest of us? Oh and being short is super uncool as well apparently.

What about high school? Popularity was clearly a big deal, I remember the popular kids. What made them so cool? They used to smoke pot a lot and drink… I guess that’s cool, under age drinking and drug use. Super Cool! Right?

They were funny. Their collection of your mom jokes, penis jokes and family guy quotes were pretty solid. I guess that’s what made you cool! But then again, I wasn’t uncool in High school… so I don’t know… This concept of cool seems odd…

how about after that? young adult age… what has been cool? House Parties are cool! Going out every weekend and get completely wasted and fucked out of your mind is apparently super cool! I mean why else would people be so disappointed when alcohol isn’t available? That must be it right? Because it ain’t cool to be sober? Right?

No that can’t be it… honestly, the concept of cool is relative. It really depends on who you are and what you think because what’s cool to one person may not be cool at all to another. Most of those things up there I never really found very cool, but thanks to peer pressure I sort of acted like I did… but I think just hanging with friends and playing board games is pretty cool. I think reading is pretty cool. I think being complete goofs and doofs is fucking cool. But who am I to say what’s cool and what isn’t?

But if there was something (or… someone) that was cool, it would definitely be this guy, Miles Davis. He’s the sole definition of cool and nothing else. The way he plays through every song and the vibe that is felt through the album cannot be categorized as anything else but Cool. That’s all it is, is one cool album by one cool dude. He’s the kind of guy you’d see sitting on a bench somewhere, wearing his sunglasses, and he’d just point at you in his cool kind of way and you’d just be like “Man, that dude is cool” and he’d whip out his trumpet and play you one mean ass trumpet solo. Damn he’s cool.

There’s honestly no other way to say it, it’s tough to say but this has single-handedly made the trumpet my favourite instrument. When one well it just sounds so fucking awesome. I wish trumpets just followed me everywhere and played me a prancing tune (because I’m cool like that).

Jazz… you’ve done it again, you keep coming to me in new forms and make me ramble on about things… Jazz…

Song of Choice: Move


Photoshop Credit: Julian Branco


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