'Birth of the Cool'

Photos by Jennie McKeon

Name: “Birth of the Cool”

Artist: Miles Davis

Release date: 1957

Favorite track: “Rouge”

Ray-Bans, red lips and a leather jacket — it’s a timeless, classic cool.

Laidback, effortless and without a care in the world –— it’s the natural cool with which you’re born.

Bold, outspoken and fearless — it’s the charismatic cool.

Everyone has a different definition of cool.

But, this compilation record is where cool itself was birthed — manifested in the form of Miles Davis’ revolutionary jazz tracks. The tracks were recorded in 1948 and released on various platforms throughout the 1950s until today. My copy is a ____ reissued vinyl, and it sounds oh so smooth.

This album represents the old-school, lasting cool — the kind you can’t mess with. This cool is untouchable.

I love “Birth of the Cool,” because it’s a Friday night record, Sunday morning record and a Monday afternoon record. It’s a perfect rainy day soundtrack; it mixes well with whiskey and it seamlessly blends with a cappuccino.

What’s cooler than being cool? Miles Davis.


As indicated in its style, this record was the world’s introduction to cool jazz, a subgenre of jazz music that swept the late 1940s and early 1950s. The style is considered post-war jazz because it came after World War II, which is cool in and of itself.

Cool jazz — a calmer, less forceful jazz — was a contrast from the fast-paced bebop jazz that came before it. It’s an elegant, soothing jazz I find impossible to dislike.

People consider it the gateway genre to modern jazz, and I’d have to agree.

I hate to label this record refined, because music shouldn’t be pretentious — especially music so warm and inviting. I haven’t heard an original pressing of this record — which likely has a few cracks and crevices — but the record I own is formal and polished, but also friendly and accepting.

I think what causes these seemingly contrasting vibes is the reliance on horn instruments. The saxophone especially has an innate rich sound listeners interpret as ritzy, yet joyful.

I’ll refrain from a song-by-song breakdown, because this record’s songs are like the cars of a train. You can’t cross the tracks until you’ve seen them all.

“Birth of the Cool” is truly a work of art every jazz enthusiast needs in his or her record collection.


This album sleeve flaunts a classic cool.

Black and white with a pop of red is an iconic design, and this cover art is no exception.

Hey, I'm Savannah. I collect records, and they collect dust. Like my preferred media form, I strive to not become obsolete. I created Off the Record as a way to turn my mind inside out, into something visual and tangible. One is the loneliest number, so I asked my friends to join.