Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue changed jazz. It changed music, period. So I take it very seriously. But when I see the animated sheet music of the first cut, “So What,” I can’t help but think of Charles Schultz’s Peanuts cartoons, and their Vince Guaraldi compositions. I mean no offense to Miles. His modal jazz swings, and it’s fun, as fun to listen to as it is to watch in rising and falling arpeggios. The YouTube uploader, Dan Cohen, gives us this on his channel Animated Sheet Music, with apologies to Jimmy Cobb for the lack of drum notation.
Also from Cohen’s channel, we have Charlie Parker’s music animated. Never one to keep up with his admin, Parker left his estate unable to recuperate royalties from compositions like “Confirmation” (above).
Nonetheless, everyone knows it’s Bird’s tune, and to see it animated above is to see Parker dance a very different step than Miles’ post-bop cool, one filled with complex melodic paragraphs instead of chordal phrases.
And above, we have John Coltrane’s massive “Giant Steps,” with its rapid-fire bursts of quarter notes, interrupted by half-note asides. Coltrane’s iconic 1960 composition displays what Ira Gitler called in a 1958 Downbeat piece, “sheets of sound.” Gitler has said the image he had in his head was of “bolts of cloth undulating as they unfurled,” but he might just as well have thought of sheets of rain, so multitude and heavy is Coltrane’s melodic attack.
See Cohen’s Animated Sheet Music channel for two more Charlie Parker pieces, “Au Privave” and “Bloomdido.”