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After listening to Miles Davis’ album “Kind of Blue” once again, my thought is the same as before. As mentioned before, “Kind of Blue” has the right mix of certain tones while still maintaining its relaxing feel at the same time. It is the kind of album where one can listen to during the day and would feel as if it’s already night time. Although I can’t say this is one of the best jazz albums of all time despite the general consensus in that regard, it’s due to the fact that I don’t pay much attention to jazz so my listening experience is limited. I was told to give this album a listen and after doing so, I enjoy every single track in this album. It’s even better when the album is listened in one entire sitting so that way the music style of “Kind of Blue” can be fully appreciated.

“Kind of Blue” is generally an interesting album as each tracks are unique can have different styles despite some similarities. Much of the similarities stem from “Who’s That?” and “Freddie Freeloader” as the latter track started out as a more fast-paced tone of the former. When the two tracks are listened together, it’s like listening to one whole track. As mentioned before, an interpretation can be made from the tracks in the album in which it can feel like a mix of suspense and mystery. This in turn helps connects the last three tracks to the first two as they are part of the story. “Blue in Green” signify depression and the low point of the plot, “All Blues” demonstrates the suspense, tension, and the triumph that comes with it, leading to the conclusion in “Flamenco Sketches” which closes the story. Each of the track has its own relaxing feel and can be interesting to listen in their own right separately as well.

I enjoy this album as the nighttime feel brings in the relaxation to help bring about a measure of comfort. It is the kind of album I would recommend not only the fans of Miles Davis, but also to the music fans as well. “Kind of Blue” is the album I would highly recommend.

Rating: 5 of 5

http://www.thejazzresource.com/top_25_jazz_albums.html
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/music_box/2009/08/kind_of_blue.html

“All Blues” in my opinion is perhaps the best track of the album as it has the building tension that makes it perfect for a suspenseful tone. Like the rest of the album, “All Blue” has a nighttime feel so the atmosphere can have a very mysterious vibe to it. As the music goes, it would start out fast right out of the gate as the tension in the theme continues to build. As far as the theme goes, the track demonstrates the certain vibe in which the tension and the suspenseful tone can be expressed through the music itself.

When it comes to the tension build throughout the track, what would happen is that the once the tension begins, the sounds of instruments starts to sound like a chase scene from a movie. Once the tension stops, the instruments would slow down where they would then settle down for a while, thus staying at a relaxing pace. The beat from the drums and cymbal kept a constant pace as the other tracks has which is the reason why the track still instill a relaxing mood. From my interpretation of this track, after the somber moment in “Blue in Green”, the story hits the climax in which a chase after the goal or the person would occur as the tension builds. Once the tension ends, whatever the character of the story have to do is finally done and afterward, everyone got to relax which hence the relaxing pace after the suspense of the chase came to a close. Eventually, the tension builds up toward the end but even then it shows the kind of excitement that can be demonstrated once the suspense ends. The theme can also demonstrate a nightlife as the event can take place at the bar or a club in the city. Once that part of the story folds, the set up is made for the conclusion in the track “Flamenco Sketches”.

I find this track much more interesting than the rest of the album as this theme helps demonstrates the mixture of excitement, suspense, and triumph. I enjoy this track as it felt as if my mind has been taken into an adventure in a mystery thriller while relaxing at the same time. Overall “All Blues” is a great listening experience and I would recommend this along with “Who’s That?” to those who are fans of Miles Davis.

Rating: 4.5 of 5

The next track called “Blue in Green” which goes into a more darker and depressing tone than the previous tracks. The mood of the music is much more somber as the pace became slower and relaxed. The instrumental would continue to play at a slow pace throughout its entire run as the theme remains steady. As such, “Blue in Green” has a nighttime feel which makes it relaxing to listen despite the tragic theme in the music. The track is a nice contrast to “Freddie Freeloader” as it shifts from the more optimistic theme to a depressing tone.

When it comes to the tragic theme which contrasts the optimistic tone of “Freddie Freeloader”, “Blue in Green” is a kind of music that can bring in a darker feeling although it doesn’t have the ominous tone to make it haunting. From how I would try to interpret “Blue in Green”, the track would demonstrate how in which the story would take a darker tone. In that part of the story, what happens is that after an optimistic tone from “Freddie Freeloader” where the character would hit the low point at that event. That’s when the tone of then the theme shows how much trouble the character is in at that point of the story. With the way how “Blue in Green” comes to an end, the set up would be made for the next track where the story continues.

“Blue in Green” is over five minutes long so it’s shorter than each of the two previous tracks. At the same time, the slower pacing made it sounds as if the track is longer than it really is. I think the track is good and while it may not be as enjoyable some other tracks, I do find it interesting as the tone is much darker so it makes a fitting contrast to the more optimistic themes. As mentioned before, “Blue in Green” still have the same feel as all the other tracks in the album as the theme has a nighttime setting. In the end, the mood fits well as it demonstrates the dark time of the period where the story takes place.

Rating: 3 of 5

“Freddie Freeloader” is similar to “Who’s That?” as the early part of the theme was practically the same as the previous track. Eventually, what happen is that the music would then change its course by having the saxophones played with a differing composition to further differentiate the track from “Who’s That?” although the theme still stays the same as well. The musical theme is derived from the 12-bar blues as the instrumentals are made to emulate the feel of the said music genre. The emulation of the blues is evident throughout the entire album but in the case of “Freddie Freeloader”, the track has a more upbeat tone as the instrumentals become more active and involved within the performance as well.

The track is generally more upbeat and it is played with an optimistic feel. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that “Who’s That?” is a depressing track, “Freddie Freeloader” is much more fast-paced and exciting. As I consider “Who’s That?” as a introduction, “Freddie Freeloader” is where the story begins by taking off after the previous track ends. The pace of the music would stay upbeat throughout its entire run. Despite being over nine minutes long like the previous track, “Freddie Freeloader” felt as if it’s been played for half of its actual run time due to the pace. While I generally find “Who’s That?” much more relaxing to listen to, “Freddie Freeloader” happens to be more interesting as the pace grabs my attention for the whole time it gets played. It would sound as if the story itself begins with an optimistic feel in which the track then stays consistent until toward the end in which the instrumental would begin to slow down.

I enjoy this track and while it may not be as good as the tracks that came afterward, it’s still a good listen. Despite generally being the more faster and upbeat version of “Who’s That?” outside of a different composition in which the saxophone would take over, it still have a nighttime feel as the theme is still played with a soft composition the previous track has. Once “Freddie Freeloader” ends, from my own interpretation, the story would reach the darker tone on the next track.

Rating: 3.5 of 5

http://people.virginia.edu/~skd9r/MUSI212_new/diagrams/freddie_freeloader.html

A week after my first listen of the entire album, I went to give “Kind of Blue” another listen. My opinion didn’t change as I still enjoy listening to the album as I did a week before. The main difference is that this time I tried to make a deeper interpretation on the album. This is done so in order to figure out the story the music in “Kind of Blue” may have been trying to convey. Ultimately, I decided that it may have been a mix of mystery and suspense judging by what I felt from listening to each of the track.

“So What?” is perfect as the introduction track as it gives the listeners the taste of what the album will have in store later on. This particular track is very relaxing as the nighttime feel it has made it seems as if the track is played during the night at the bar or a nightclub. As the music begins to fade, the transition to the next track “Freddie Freeloader” made it seems like the music is being reprised. When listened together, “So What?” and “Freddie Freeloader” sounded like one whole track which makes the transition perfect. Then with the darker feel from the next track “Blue in Green” having the right contrast in its theme, the depressing tone makes a good change of pace from the more optimistic theme from the previous tracks. The theme of “Blue in Green” helps set up the next track “All Blues” where the tone becomes more suspenseful. In “All Blues” the track would have tension build up in order to create a suspenseful atmosphere. Once the tension increase, the pacing of the track would slow down before returning to pick up the pace. Then in the final track “Flamenco Sketches”, the tone became depressing where it signals how the album is coming to a close. The tone of the track wasn’t dark although it is much more depressing than “Blue in Green”. “Flamenco Sketches” wraps up the album nicely as the theme makes it a fitting end to the story the music is trying to convey.

As mentioned before, “Kind of Blue” is an enjoyable album. Even after listening to it again a week later, the album still have the relaxing mood to make it a comfortable listen.

Rating: 5 of 5

The movie “The Fisher King” directed by Terry Gilliam is about an egotistical shock jock named Jack Lucas who gave unhelpful advices and even insults listeners who calls his show in hope that the radio jockey would help them. However, Lucas’ call out on the last caller would haunt him as the news coverage caught his attention where the shock jock realize that what he have done led to the deaths of several people at the night club. Afterward, a guilt-ridden and unemployed Lucas was seen drinking whisky and became dazed as he tries to walk out of the room. Later in the movie, Lucas was out wandering in the middle of the rain during which he was mistaken for a homeless by a kid who gives him a toy. When Lucas encounters a group of hoodlums who beats him attempts to burn him to death, a homeless man named Parry comes along to save him. After driving the hoodlums away, Parry then introduces himself to Lucas and tells him about the quest in which he must find the Holy Grail.

This movie is about the characters’ quest to find what they were looking for. While the quest mentioned in the movie is about Parry’s attempt to find the Holy Grail, the real quest in the movie was in fact about Lucas’ journey to redeem himself. The incident that Lucas have indirectly caused by mocking the caller, driving him to shoot up the nightclub also resulted in the death of Parry’s wife. Lucas took it upon himself to help Parry find love that he lost in order to make up for the tragedy he helped caused. While Parry’s stated quest is to find the Holy Grail, he actually have two quests. One of his quests was to overcome the trauma he suffered due to death of his wife. As it is shown in the film, Parry would have flashbacks of the event in which his wife was killed in front of him and often times hallucinated, causing him to see a red knight trying to kill him. Parry’s other quest is to rediscover his new love after the said traumatizing incident. One of the main moments of the film is when Parry was stalking a woman named Lydia in the Grand Central Station. At that moment, Parry’s imagination is depicted as the people in the Grand Central Station starts dancing like they’re in a ballroom. Once everyone were done dancing, Parry’s imagination comes to an end as the people in the Grand Central Station stops and goes back to what they were doing.

As time went by, Lucas would help Parry by setting him up with Lydia but the attempt would become ruined as a result of the trauma Parry suffered as a result of the tragic death of his wife. At that point Lucas would give up on Parry until toward the end of the film when he gave the homeless a trophy as the Holy Grail (which he stole from the mansion in Upper East Side), thus helping him to complete his “quest”. This in turn helped Parry overcome his trauma, allowing Lucas to complete his quest as Parry rediscover his love and became together with Lydia. Lucas and Parry would become friends, demonstrating the development of characters in which the two have underwent and the lesson that is learned which is to help one another in times of need.

I enjoy the film as it demonstrates the how consequence of the action of one person can have on the other as shown in the beginning when Lucas mocked his listeners and refused to give out helpful advice, leading to one to go one a rampage which in turn affects Parry. Both Lucas and Parry each went through their own respective journeys to find what they needed. Lucas’ quest was to find redemption while Parry’s quest was to find salvation, both of which are connected to each other. Once their journey is finished, the two men became close as a family as they both went through changes that shaped them throughout the film. There’s even a symbolism as Lucas breaks into the mansion by scaling up several floors to bypass security, making it looked as if he was climbing into a castle to find the grail, helping to complete Parry’s quest and break him out of his trauma. The one part I don’t like the film aside from how the two thugs (the same whom Parry saved Lucas from) who attacked Parry were never seen getting their comeuppance. Makes you wonder if they got off scot-free as they were never heard from again after that scene. Overall, it’s a good film as it mixes humor and drama together with elements of a medieval theme. The ending is like a fairytale where things were resolved due to instances of adventures and risks (such as Lucas’ burglary mentioned earlier) where it is then capped off with fireworks, wrapping it up nicely.

4 stars out of 5

Picking up from where the previous blog entry has left off in regards to the segment of “Shouting Fire” documentary about Daniel Ellsberg. As it is previously mentioned, Ellsberg leaked the documents from the Pentagon about the war on Vietnam. When it comes to the actions Ellsberg he took, it happened after his experience in Vietnam which helped led to his actions as he believes that the public deserves the right to know the reason for the American involvement in the war. Because of his actions, Ellsberg have to deal with the risk of getting sent to prison for leaking the government documents to the newspaper. In the end, Ellsberg fought the charges and won as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of him. This goes to show how the freedom involves risks as the morality isn’t always black and white.

Then on the final segment of the documentary, there is the right for the people to protest on certain issues including war. The protesters would have to face the risk of abuse from the police due to the fears of “terrorism” in recent times. As the segment of the documentary has shown, it was nothing new as the protestors would face similar risk in the 1960s as well. Then there is the discussion regarding the laws that were passed during the wartime such as the “Patriot Act” submitted by the Bush Administration which people feared that it would enable the government to infringe the people’s rights. It is argued that the people who were arrested aren’t necessarily trying to derail the war effort, but expression their right to free speech.

“Shouting Fire” overall covers the ways in which the rights of free speech can have different interpretations. This includes the fact that the right to free speech applies to the people whom would voice beliefs that are highly unpopular and the criticisms are often justified. However, some of the criticisms can overstep the boundaries which leads to death threats which is opposite of what free speech is about. Furthermore, exercising the rights can even result in risk the loss of job although the situations of it can depend on the circumstances. Then there is the actions by Daniel Ellsberg and the treatment of the protestors during wartime which shows that in the end, there is a price to pay when trying to exercise the rights to free speech. The documentary demonstrates that the right to free speech and the situations involving it can be much more complicated than one can think.