Review Summary: Time stands still.
There isn’t anything quite like the night, the momentary lapse of rhyme and reason. It is a time to reflect and amuse oneself with whatever thoughts come to mind. Whether looking back or forward, there is something about the moonlight that incites deep thought, which proves to be ultimately humbling.
’Round About Midnight
is perhaps one of the most accurate representations of the quirky curiosity night time brings. Throughout the album, nostalgia-tinged pieces steep the listener in a buoyant state of mind without being overly energetic; all songs remain a light listen but impact the listener all the same. This can be attributed to the fantastic quintet’s performance, as although the album clearly exudes a bebop style which is generally speedy and frantic, the soloists focus on creating emotion rather than engaging in ostentatious swaggery. The product of such musicality that charms the listener wholeheartedly. That doesn’t mean the soloists are not impressive, however, as, even though their delivery is emotional, the concepts they explore are challenging and admirable in nature.
What’s more, the album is a goddamn monolith in Miles’ career. He managed to find the tender point between feel and technicality, pushing his hard bop style farther than ever before. Not only that, but the album also gave him a platform to build his first significant group; this one including familiar names such as John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Joe Jones. Of course, being young, said musicians don’t quite have the mastery of their instruments they would have onward in their career, but said youthful exuberance greatly colors the record, making it even more of a delight.
As time has proven, ’Round About Midnight
proves to be Miles Davis’ first considerable statement in jazz, and fortunately, far from his last. It was the first great step toward realizing himself as one of the most significant musicians of our time. Plus, the record also happens to be a fantastic one, full of pleasures for the listener. Dim the lights, put the kids to sleep, get a glass of wine, and dare to be carried away by Miles’ genius.