Birth of the Cool is a compilation album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released in 1957 on Capitol Records. It compiles twelve songs recorded by Davis's nonet for the label over the course of three sessions during 1949 and 1950.
Featuring unusual instrumentation and several notable musicians, the music consisted of innovative arrangements influenced by classical music techniques such as polyphony, and marked a major development in post-bebop jazz. As the title implies, these recordings are considered seminal in the history of cool jazz. The majority of the recordings were originally released in the ten inch 78 rpm format and are all approximately three minutes long.
In 1947 Miles Davis was playing in Charlie Parker's quintet. Parker had called on Davis's trumpet after splitting with Dizzy Gillespie in 1945 due to the formers growing alcohol and drug problem. Davis recorded several albums with Parker at this time, including Parker's Sessions for the Savoy and Dial labels. By 1948 Davis had three years of bebop playing under his belt, but he struggled to match the speed and ranges of the likes of Gillespie and Parker, choosing instead to play in the mid range of his