Blue in Green It has long been speculated that pianist Bill Evans wrote “Blue in Green”, even though the most famous recoding of the piece on the album “Kind of Blue” and most jazz fakebooks credit Miles Davis only with its composition. In his autobiography, Davis maintains that he alone composed the songs on “Kind of Blue”. The version on Evans’ trio album “Portrait in Jazz”, recorded in 1959, credits the tune to ‘Davis-Evans’. Earl Zindars, in an interview conducted by Win Hinkle, said that “Blue in Green” was 100-percent written by Bill Evans. In a 1978 radio interview, Evans said that he himself had written the song. Evans said “The truth is I did [write the music]… I don’t want to make a federal case out of it, the music exists, and Miles is getting the royalties.” Either way, for all of us, it’s a beautiful tune and we’re honored to present it.
As a trumpeter being intimately aware of Miles Davis’ haunting sound on this tune, it was a challenge artistically not to try and re-create or fall back on what another artist once did. Even though they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it certainly would be a formidable feat in and of itself to be able to imitate such an incredible and soulful sound Miles Davis achieved, one of the ideals in regards to Jazz, is the idea of being yourself and presenting your own unique voice, and therefore, I’ve opted to leave the harmon mute and trumpet packed away, and played this arrangement on the flugelhorn and went after my own sense of phrasing and harmony. It also greatly helped that Derek envisioned and developed a fantastic unique soundscape on which to play (be sure to read Derek’s explanation below). I think you’ll really dig the background vocals and the overlapping harmonized horn building to a climactic ending. It was a wonderful experience to work on this tune and I really hope you enjoy it.
This has been one of my favorite tunes for years, and I play it in a variety of musical settings. For me, from an improviser’s standpoint, I always like listening to how a player interacts with a known song structure. I often think you can tell a lot about a player’s personality as you can easily hear what they bring to the song when there’s an established context to compare it to.
It’s always interesting to see how these arrangements evolve as Mark and I record them. When I laid the initial tracks I was hearing a Radiohead vibe, a la ‘OK Computer’ in terms of sound, mashed up with Miles Davis’s ‘Bitches Brew’. In the end I think we defined it quite a bit differently than that (ultimately making it our own), referencing 70′s ECM (or The Jesus and Mary Chain, depending on your point of view). The track became more lush and less rock influenced than I had initially heard it.
In terms of process, it feels like we have started to define a method that allows us to be organic and improvisational within a structured environment. Instead of orchestrating a recording where I’m trying to achieve something really specific, I keep the arrangement open enough initially to give Mark the space to influence it and push the track in a direction I may have not have thought of. In a way it’s like comping with pro tools. But, enough talk, enjoy it and thanks for stopping by.