Friday, 28 May 2010

A timeless Kind of Blue

A new two part collaboration between the Kind of Blue Sextet and Paul Lashmar is shedding an unexpected new light on Miles Davis' seminal album Kind of Blue.

Long recognised as one of , if not the most important Jazz albums of all time, Kind of Blue has been examined from enough angles to make a nun blush. Quadruple Platinum selling, placed 12th in Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time and inspiration for everyone from James Brown to Pink Floyd. Yet against these odds, Brunel University lecturer Paul Lashmar has teamed up with a specially arranged band to offer a take on the album that is both new and surprisingly timeless.

Part of the Brunel University Jazz Outreach Project, which aims to make Jazz more accessible, the show begins with a history that finishes at the album being cut. Perhaps surprisingly, this evening of Jazz and lectures is likely to appeal to hipcats and square Jazz novices alike.

At the core of the show, titled simply Kind of Blue: Homage to Miles Davis, is a live performance of the album. This is delivered, in its entirety, by a band of the highest calibre musicians under the leadership of veteran Band Leader Frank Griffith. If arranging and orchestrating a band to replicate the sound of the two Manhattan recording sessions that created Kind of Blue weren't enough, Griffith also plays an active part in the first half of the show.

Lashmar's introduction to the scene that first created Miles Davis then Kind of Blue avoids indulgence at every step. No mean feat from a man who is visibly passionate about his subject. Key points on the road are expounded, explained and then it's off to the next stop. Punctuation in this whistlestop tour are provided by Griffith, who, along with his band, provide musical examples which make real every place, era and mood.

It looks likely that this show will be a small part of the Brunel University Jazz Outreach Project. If it's anything to go by, they will no doubt be a flawless juggling of musical history and toe-tapping music. And it should go without saying that if you don't own the album, you should daddy-o.

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