Jazz Standards.com : Jazz Standards : Songs : History : Biographies
Home Overview Songs Biographies History Theory Search Bookstore About

All Blues (1959)

Visitor Comments
Share your comments on this tune...
Origin and Chart Information
“The dark flowing introspection of Kind of Blue...is so accessible few people recognized the album as the insurrection it was.”

- Gary Giddins

Rank 248
Written by Miles Davis

Trumpeter Miles Davis’ “All Blues” was recorded on April, 22, 1959, during the second session of his Kind of Blue album, still one of the best-selling jazz albums of all times. In fact Eric Nisenson devoted an entire book to its creation: The Making of Kind of Blue: Miles Davis and His Masterpiece.

Pianist Bill Evans, who had influenced Davis’ interest in classical music and the use of modes, was instrumental in developing the concept of the album. Evans left Davis’ group in 1958 and was replaced by Wynton Kelly; however, he returned for the Kind of Blue session. The more deeply blues-oriented Kelly played on only one cut, “Freddie Freeloader,” during the March session and was not present during the second session in April.

In order to capture the spontaneity of the sessions, Davis did not write out the compositions, bringing in only harmonic sketches for his sextet which included Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, John Coltrane on tenor sax, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums.

NPR’s Jazz Profiles web site further describes the composition: “For the tune ‘All Blues’ Miles again played with the simplest of elements. He took a standard 4/4 time blues and gave it a waltz feel in 6/8. Evans said this was again part of Davis’ genius--creating a simple figure that becomes much more.”

In Miles: The Autobiography by Miles with Quincy Troupe, Davis says that he was influenced by the dancers, drummers, and a finger piano player with the Ballet Africaine and was trying to bring that feeling to Kind of Blue. “I didn’t write out the music for Kind of Blue, but brought in sketches for what everybody was supposed to play because I wanted a lot of spontaneity in the playing just like I thought was in the interplay between those dancers and those drummers and that finger piano player with the Ballet Africaine. ....When I tell people that I missed what I was trying to do on Kind of Blue, that I missed getting the exact sound of the African finger piano up in that sound, they just look at me like I’m crazy....But that’s what I was trying to do on most of that album, particularly on ‘All Blues’ and ‘So What.’ I just missed.”

Gary Giddins in Visions of Jazz: The First Century says, “The dark flowing introspection of Kind of Blue...is so accessible few people recognized the album as the insurrection it was. He remodeled the blues in ‘Freddie Freeloader’ and ‘All Blues,’ introduced modulating tempos in ‘Blue and Green,’ supplanted chords with modes while retaining the AABA song format in ‘So What,’ and improvised form itself in ‘Flamenco Sketches.’”

In 1965 Davis revisited “All Blues,” recording an up tempo version with his energetic young quintet which included saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams for his Live at the Plugged Nickel album.

Several vocalists, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ernestine Anderson, and most recently Mark Murphy (2004) and Judy Niemack (2007), have performed the song with the Oscar Brown, Jr. lyric which cleverly fits the repetitive mood of the tune: “The sea, the sky, and you and I, sea and sky and you and I, we’re all blues, all shades, all hues, all blues.”

In addition to earlier recordings of “All Blues” by such jazz stalwarts as Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Tal Farlow, Bill Mays, Freddie Hubbard, and Al Grey, many artists have recorded the tune since 2000: the gospel group Take Six (2000); guitarist Mimi Fox and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc (2001); saxophonists Donald Harrison (2002) and Frank Morgan (2004); pianist Marian McPartland (2005); drummer/vocalist Grady Tate and pianist Milcho Leviev (2006); and in 2007 saxophonist Harry Allen, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and pianist Marc Copland.

- Sandra Burlingame

Musicians' Comments

Are you a published Vocalist or Instrumentalist?

Add a comment and we'll credit you with a link to your site. (more...)

Free Chord Changes for this Tune
Chord changes and downloadable tracks at PlayJazzNow.com
Also on This Page...

Musician's Comments
Free Chord Changes

Jazz History Notes
By the Same Writers...

Jazz History Notes

Miles Davis made a number of fine recordings of “All Blues” subsequent to the original from the Kind of Blue album. A live recording from Davis’ trip to Sweden in 1960 is especially worthy since it gives a nice glimpse of the group prior to the departure of John Coltrane but with the rhythm section of Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums). (There’s also a rare interview with Coltrane included with the box set.)

Two more live sessions by Miles feature his composition. The first, from 1964, has nice work by tenor saxophonist George Coleman and pianist Herbie Hancock. Hancock, along with fellow rhythm section members Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums), had just been together with Davis for a few months, but already it is evident that they were a coalescent team. The next year, with Wayne Shorter replacing Coleman, the group was again captured in a live performance that clearly indicates Miles and his cohorts delving into more avant-garde jazz.

Chris Tyle - Jazz Musician and Historian


Miles Davis
In Stockholm, 1960 Complete
Dragon 228

Miles Davis
My Funny Valentine
Sony 93593
Original recording 1964
iTunes
Written by the Same Composer(s)...
This section shows the jazz standards written by the same writing team.

Miles Davis

Year Rank Title
1947 194 Donna Lee
1959 248 All Blues
1958 287 Milestones
1954 402 Solar
1959 426 Blue in Green
1959 435 So What
1954 537 Four
1959 633 Nardis
1953 652 Tune Up
1947 851 Sippin' At Bell's
1948 894 Half Nelson

Copyright 2005-2012 - JazzStandards.com - All Rights Reserved      Permission & contact information

Home | Overview | Songs | Biographies | History | Theory | Search | Bookstore | About