Jukebooks: The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Daisy’s family is in crisis. Her younger brother, Steven, is autistic, and his violent outbursts have become dangerous as he grows bigger and stronger. Daisy escapes into music, playing her trumpet in the jazz ensemble at her school. At one time, Daisy was an “…orchestra-guest-worthy prodigy horn player,” but Steven’s care has required the family resources to be diverted from her musical development. Nevertheless, playing jazz is Daisy’s refuge from the problems at home. When Daisy’s parents decide that Steven must move out of the home for better care, Daisy suspects that she should be relieved. Isn’t this her chance for freedom? Instead, she’s angry, and finds herself turning away from music and her dreams for her future.
Daisy loves Kind of Blue, an album by Miles Davis and members of his jazz sextet. It’s “…kind of, always, how I feel,” Daisy describes. She’s not alone in her admiration. The smooth, beautiful melodies introduced a shift in the improvisational possibilities of jazz, resulting in music that feels as if it could go on forever. The album was recorded in two sessions and released in August 1959. Many regard it as the best jazz album ever.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kind of Blue’s release, Columbia Records reissued the album in 2008. (Not fifty years, is it?) Below is a short clip elucidating its effect on jazz music.
-Diane Colson, currently reading Grandmaster by David Klass