Uniqueness, Signifyin(g) and Compositional Process in “Blue and Green”


Uniqueness, Signifyin(g) and Compositional Process in “Blue and Green”
Jazz Perspectives
1749-4060, 1749-4079
Debates concerning the origins of “Blue in Green” as a composition often focus on who wrote the piece (Miles Davis or Bill Evans) rather than how it was written. Such accounts rely on anecdotal evidence, portraying “Blue in Green” as an object of dispute and Davis as an unreliable witness with a questionable track record. This article uses transcription and musical analysis to focus on an alternative set of goals. It attempts to establish a clearer account of the compositional process by which “Blue in Green” was created and the respective contributions made by Davis and Evans.

Throughout the article, the roles Davis and Evans play in the creative process are reassessed within the art world of the Sextet. Musical analysis indicates that harmonic and melodic materials from “Blue in Green” derive from the Evans composition “Waltz for Debby.” However, it is the “Davis-like” compositional process which contributes uniqueness to “Blue in Green” by prominently featuring extended tones in its melody and constructing a circular form. Signification is fundamental to this process and the article relocates “Blue in Green” intertextually within a series of Signifyin(g) works. Not only does “Blue in Green” repeat and revise the tropes of earlier pieces by Davis and Evans, but it also acts as a “preceding text” with which the Davis Quintet of the 1960s would later engage.
DOI.org (Crossref)