Review Summary: A smooth and enjoyable cool-jazz record by a band of great musicians. Nothing more, nothing less.
Miles Davis was known for and is held in high regard for his fearless experimentation, as well as his distinctive style and tone. On albums like Kind Of Blue, Bitches Brew, On The Corner, Sketches in Spain, and Doo-Bop he took the fruits of burgening jazz subgenres and blended them into his sound with a grace and passion matched by few (if any) even to this day.
Here, on Blue Moods, a young Miles teams up with a collection of notable talents to record a near-perfect Cool-Jazz record. With Miles on Trumpet, Charles Mingus on double bass, Elvin Jones on the skins, Britt Woodman on Trombone, and Teddy Charles on the vibes; a smooth and intoxicating concoction of sound is the result. Tackling self-arranged interpretations of 4 standards clocking in at only 25 minutes, the album is short and sweet. Serene tones and textures resonate throughout the entirety of the LP, with a somewhat reserved yet emotional execution from all involved. Miles' playing on "Nature Boy" is ear-grabbingly beautiful alongside Ted's haunting vibes, and the improvisation of both he and Woodman come together like milk and cookies. "Alone Together" suffers slightly from a stumbling introduction by Woodman, which is soon picked up and fixed by Miles and Ted, and then the track goes by smoothly. "Theres No You" brings a bit of an upbeat feel to a moody LP, with a relaxing yet engaging interplay of instruments which imagine them playing with eager smiles on their faces. "Easy Living" is a well-placed closer to the album, performed at a slow pace and easy-going feel that combines the moodiness of tracks one and two with the happier feel of track three to create a soothing neutrality.
Although this album was hardly groundbreaking or original in any way, the performances and arrangements make for a worthy addition to any jazz fan's collection. The interplay of Miles Davis and Teddy Charles alone is reason enough to check this out. Altogether a pleasent little slab of sound to enjoy in the car, over dinner or relaxing at home with a nice alcoholic beverage by your side and a book in your hands.