Thursday, November 5, 2009

The metaphysics of jazz

It wouldn’t be right to let 2009 pass without a mention of the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’s classic album Kind of Blue. Just beautiful. Give a listen to “Freddie Freeloader,” courtesy of YouTube. And since this is a philosophy blog written by a guy with a taste for the sauce, follow it up with Jon Hendricks’ absolutely delightful vocalese version of the song, from 1990. Like some of Hendricks’ other lyrics (e.g. the ones he wrote for the Manhattan Transfer’s vocalese take on Clifford Brown’s “Sing Joy Spring”) the words to “Freddie” evince a kind of strange Gnostic metaphysics of the soul – worked, in this case, into the story of a legendary bartender. (I kid you not.) Bad theology? Sure. But terrific jazz. Enjoy.


  1. 50 years! Incredible! I still have the record which I bought in 1966 together with Clifford Brown and Max Roach. With all respect for Miles Davis he hardly ever came near the class of Clifford Brown. The guy was killed at 26. What an irreplaceable loss

  2. Davis and some others (certainly Parker) were possessed by a very high Muse. Unfortunately, their own personalities were not quite up to the task of adapting as adults, very well. It's too bad, really, but as men they were just too overwhelmed.