'Blue', another 'Kind Of Blue'. Note for note replication of a Miles Davis classic

Tomorrow sees the release of 'Blue' by the band Other People Mostly Do The Killing. It's a note for note copy of Miles Davis' classic LP 'Kind Of Blue'.

Tomorrow sees the release of the seventh studio album by the band Other People Mostly Do The Killing. ‘Blue’ is a note for note copy of one of the most influential and widely selling jazz albums of all time, Miles Davis’ 1959 modal masterpiece 'Kind Of Blue’.

So what? (if you'll pardon the pun). Well, there is sure to be controversy and disdain among those that consider this classic album sacred. This copy is certainly an audacious task that has yielded something quite unique and thus far it seems, a first. That is, copying a jazz classic in it’s entirety. As far as we know it’s never been done, aside from one or two played note for note transcriptions of hallowed solos from selected jazz greats. “Blue” is a mirror image of tempo, solos and even down to appropriate amount of tape hiss on the original Miles Davis Sextet masters.

“Before people get too worked up over this, they need to realise that our album is a copy, not a clone. An object designed to reaffirm what people already love about ‘Kind of Blue’ and to highlight what we could and couldn’t pull off,” says band member Matthew Elliott. “That’s where the art is, getting people to think about the original by listening harder to the differences.”

The idea for the copy came about ten years ago, purely as a studio project, not for touring. In 2011 all the instrumental parts were transcribed but the band found it difficult to play as the Miles Davis Sextet did. Elliott explained, “The smallest errors called for retakes. Eventually the rhythm section recorded the basic tracks with the horns added later, their solos recorded individually. Instead of using tenor and alto saxophonists for John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, Jon Irabagon doubled on both.” 

Drummer Jimmy Cobb, the only surviving member of the sextet that recorded ‘Kind Of Blue’, listened to ‘Blue’ and remarked, “I thought they were us at first but I don’t hear the human part, the individual sound and feel I lived with on those sessions, but, hey, classical has been doing this for centuries, playing the notes someone else wrote. If these guys took the time to do this, the music must mean something to them.”

Mostly Other People Do the Killing formed in 2003 with saxophonist Jon Irabagon, bassist Matthew ‘Moppa’ Elliott, and drummer Kevin Shea. Ironically, trumpeter Peter Evans has now left the group to pursue his own projects. 

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