[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 190 (Tuesday, December 15, 2009)]
[House]
[Pages H14891-H14892]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




     HONORING 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECORDING OF ``KIND OF BLUE''

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to 
the resolution (H. Res. 894) honoring the 50th anniversary of the 
recording of the album ``Kind of Blue'' and reaffirming jazz as a 
national treasure.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

                              H. Res. 894

       Whereas, on August 17, 1959, Miles Davis, Jimmy Cobb, Bill 
     Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, John Coltrane, and Julian 
     ``Cannonball'' Adderley collaborated to record the album 
     ``Kind of Blue'';
       Whereas ``Kind of Blue'' ranks 12th on the list of the 
     ``500 Greatest Albums of All Time'' published by Rolling 
     Stone magazine;
       Whereas ``Kind of Blue'' was recorded in 1959, the year 
     Columbia Records declared ``jazz's greatest year'';
       Whereas ``Kind of Blue'' marked the beginning of the mass 
     popularity of jazz in the United States;
       Whereas in 2008, the Recording Industry Association of 
     America awarded ``Kind of Blue'' quadruple-platinum status, 
     meaning 4,000,000 copies of the album had been sold;
       Whereas in 2002, the Library of Congress added ``Kind of 
     Blue'' to the National Recording Registry;
       Whereas ``Kind of Blue'' was recognized as the bestselling 
     record in the history of jazz;
       Whereas 50 years after the release of ``Kind of Blue'', 
     MOJO magazine honored the Legacy Edition of the album by 
     giving it the ``Best Catalogue Release of the Year'' award;
       Whereas ``Kind of Blue'' both redefined the concept of jazz 
     for musicians and changed the perceptions of jazz held by 
     many fans;
       Whereas today, the sole surviving member of the Miles Davis 
     Sextet, Jimmy Cobb, is performing and touring with his So 
     What Band in tribute to the 50th anniversary of ``Kind of 
     Blue''; and
       Whereas ``Kind of Blue'' continues to be the standard 
     masterpiece of jazz for American musicians and audiences: 
     Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
       (1) honors the 50th anniversary of ``Kind of Blue'' and 
     recognizes the unique contribution the album has made to 
     American jazz;
       (2) directs the Clerk of the House of Representatives to 
     transmit enrolled copies of this resolution to Columbia 
     Records;
       (3) encourages the United States Government to take all 
     appropriate steps to preserve and advance the art form of 
     jazz music;
       (4) recommits itself to ensuring that musical artists such 
     as Miles Davis and his Sextet receive fair protection under 
     the copyright laws of the United States for their 
     contributions to culture in the United States; and
       (5) reaffirms the status of jazz as a national treasure.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Conyers) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan.


                             General Leave

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include 
extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Michigan?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Today we honor Miles Davis, the trumpet player, and his sextet, 
recognizing the 50th year of the recording of one of the legendary jazz 
tunes, one of the most important too of the 20th century, that was an 
album called ``Kind of Blue.'' It was recorded in New York, a Manhattan 
church turned recording studio--and there were six other people with 
Miles Davis: John Coltrane; Julian ``Cannonball'' Adderley; Bill Evans 
and Wynton Kelly, pianists; Paul Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, the 
drummer--and made musical history and changed the artistic landscape of 
this country and in some ways the world.
  At the Congressional Black Caucus event this past September, we 
honored the only living artist of that recording date, Jimmy Cobb, the 
drummer, who was there and who performed, as a matter of fact. It was a 
great time for a great event that occurred 50 years ago.
  The reason that it was great was that each one of these artists--
Coltrane, Adderley, Davis, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and 
Jimmy Cobb--all became musical leaders in their own right. And they 
were experimenting with what was once called bebop, now progressive 
jazz, and some went on to modal jazz, which I'm still finding out what 
that's all about. They'd usually take chords of a song, sometimes a 
ballad or a popular song, and then substitute chords, and then you'd 
get this creative improvisation of what their interpretation of a song 
means to them. And that's what modern jazz is, of course, all about.
  So with the event that the Congressional Black Caucus had with the 
only living musician from that historic recording, this gives us a 
chance and an opportunity to understand what this contribution to music 
means to the American cultural scene.
  Jazz is celebrated all over the world. I introduced a concurrent 
resolution on jazz, H. Con. Res. 57--I have forgotten what year now, 
but it was passed in both the House and the Senate--and it celebrated 
this contribution, this musical contribution that's been appreciated, 
reinterpreted all over the world. Whenever and wherever I travel, I 
always try to locate the musicians, whether it's in Norway or Jamaica 
or Germany. This music is still going on and it's something that we 
celebrate, and I'm glad to bring before the House today this 
resolution, 894, for passage.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I support Chairman Conyers' sponsorship of House 
Resolution 894, which honors the 50th anniversary of the album ``Kind 
of Blue'' and reaffirms jazz as a national treasure.
  I thank Chairman Conyers for his excellent work over many years to 
honor and support jazz not only in music halls but in the Halls of 
Congress.
  In 1987, Chairman Conyers' House Concurrent Resolution 57 designated 
jazz a national American treasure. Taking its name from this 
resolution, the HR-57 Center for the Presentation of Jazz and Blues 
later established itself on 14th Street in Washington, D.C., to educate 
aspiring musicians on the history and culture of jazz and blues.
  In 1990, Chairman Conyers won passage of appropriations legislation 
awarding the Smithsonian Institute with funding to establish a 
comprehensive jazz program, including the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks 
Orchestra.
  Chairman Conyers has long supported efforts to present live jazz to 
the public in Washington, D.C. He has served on the board of directors 
of such organizations as Capital City Jazz Festivals, Inc., the 
National Jazz Service Organization, and the Rhythm and Blues 
Foundation. His love of jazz is shared by many. Jazz is an historic 
American creation, and as such, it certainly should be honored and 
supported by Congress today.
  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the famous jazz album ``Kind 
of Blue.'' On August 17, 1957, Miles Davis and his ensemble sextet 
collaborated to record ``Kind of Blue.'' This album popularized jazz 
like never before. It led Columbia Records to declare 1959 as ``jazz's 
greatest year.'' Today, ``Kind of Blue'' is recognized as the best-
selling jazz album of all time. Its influence on music beyond jazz 
alone has led music writers to view it as one of the most influential 
albums ever. In 2002, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library 
of Congress to be added to the

[[Page H14892]]

National Recording Registry. In 2003, ``Kind of Blue'' was ranked No. 
12 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all 
time.
  One reviewer called ``Kind of Blue'' a defining moment of 20th 
century music. Ashley Kahn, the author of the book ``Kind of Blue: The 
Making of a Miles Davis Masterpiece,'' called it ``the premier album of 
its era, jazz or otherwise.'' Pianist Chick Corea, one of Miles Davis' 
acolytes, said, ``It's one thing to just play a tune or play a program 
of music, but it's another thing to practically create a new language 
of music, which is what `Kind of Blue' did.''
  As a distinctly American language of music, jazz is rightfully 
honored by Chairman Conyers' resolution today. So it is with great 
pleasure that I join him in supporting this resolution, and I urge our 
colleagues to support the resolution as well.
  Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1115

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield as much time as he may consume to 
one of the people who knows a little about this music and who has come 
a long way from Memphis, Tennessee. He is the distinguished gentleman 
from Tennessee (Mr. Cohen).
  Mr. COHEN. I thank the chairman.
  Mr. Speaker, we all start as a tabula rasa in all areas of life. Then 
we grow, and we have the opportunity to learn. In my fewer number of 
years here on Earth than the chairman, I have learned quite a bit about 
jazz myself.
  It has been my honor to have friends who have been involved in jazz 
in Memphis--particularly, the late Phineas Newborn, Jr., who was a 
great pianist, one of the great jazz pianists of all time. He was a 
Memphian, and he was known by jazz musicians all over the world as a 
great jazz pianist. Others have come from Memphis and have gone to New 
York, which is oftentimes where jazz is played.
  Marvin Stamm, a great flugelhorn player, performed with different 
orchestras throughout the country as a Memphian. He went to North Texas 
State University for his education where he got a degree in jazz band, 
which is one of the few places in the world, Mr. Smith's State, that 
has jazz band distinction.
  In New York, there are Bradley's, Village Vanguard and all of those 
wonderful places where you historically have been able to hear people 
like Art Blakey. I was able to see Max Roach in Baltimore once at a 
jazz festival. I am a fan of Charlie Parker's and of Miles Davis. They 
are great jazz musicians. I think all musicians respected Miles Davis 
as one of the greatest influences on their lives regardless of whether 
they were rockers or whether they were blues musicians or jazz 
performers.
  I thank the chairman for his appreciation of what is a uniquely 
American cultural achievement, one that the world holds dear and 
respects America for. The appreciation of jazz is an art form that is 
being lost to our students. It is one that needs to be taught in our 
schools and that needs to be maintained as a living and breathing 
expression of the American art industry.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute merely to say that 
I appreciate the gentleman from Tennessee because an earlier jazz 
started in his State, in Memphis and in Nashville. The roots of it were 
embedded in the modern jazz of the music that we reaffirm today as a 
national treasure.
  Before I yield back the balance of my time, because I studied music 
as a young person, I owe these musicians a debt of gratitude because it 
was they who recommended that I go to law school, so I am grateful to 
them for helping my career.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to applaud the 
actions of the House in recognizing the 50th anniversary of Miles 
Davis' ground breaking recording, Kind of Blue. I would also like to 
thank Representative Conyers for his spirited commitment to preserving 
the American art form known as jazz. I urge my colleagues to support 
this important resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, 50 years ago, Miles Davis brought together six gifted 
musicians, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, John 
Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, and Jimmy Cobb. These men, who we now revere as 
jazz legends, under Davis' lead, fashioned the best selling jazz album 
of all time. It is no wonder that Kind of Blue is ranked as the 12th 
greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine. Selling more 
than 4 million copies to date, Kind of Blue changed the shape of jazz 
through the buzz of Davis' trumpet and his focus on musical modes. The 
album's influence on popular music throughout the years cannot be 
overstated. Musicians including Quincy Jones, Duane Allman, Q-tip, and 
Pink Floyd have cited the jazz standards of Kind of Blue as a musical 
inspiration, and as a musician, I was also inspired by the stylistic 
melodies of Kind of Blue.
  Mr. Speaker, as Kind of Blue continues to introduce listeners around 
the world to jazz music and the genius of Miles Davis, let us not 
forget the importance of jazz education and music appreciation.
  Mr. CONYERS. I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) that the House suspend the rules 
and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 894.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the 
Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be 
postponed.

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