Miles Davis’ 1959 Jazz masterpiece Kind Of Blue changed jazz forever. It’s one of those rare recordings that changes the genre it’s associated with so that the genre is henceforth defined as that album. Nirvana’s Nevermind
comes to mind, as the definitive grunge album. In short, Kind of Blue
is THE definitive jazz album. However, it isn’t just the definitive jazz record. It’s one of the greatest albums of all time. The songs are simple, nothing like Coltrane’s or Miles’ later work, but Miles and company have such flawless tone and Miles’ compositions have such soul that this album triumphs in every way. My dad, a famous jazz musician, says that this album, along with Coltrane’s Impressions
, got him through high school and life in general. It’s that kind of album, it’s an album you’d give to a lover or to a child, to someone whose life you wanted to change.
Immerse yourself in Kind Of Blue
, and you enter a dark and mysterious, almost sexy world with a zen like calm. This album isn’t just an album, it’s an experience.
This song eases in on Bill Evan’s piano, joined soon by the full ensemble. It's a sort of showcase of the band, and it in itself is proof of Miles' skill at arranging the perfect band, if not of god's existence. Although it's not my personal favorite song on the album, it's extremely cool, and extremely smooth. In a good way, not a Kenny G way.
This is one of those jazz songs that you know. No seriously, you've heard this song. It's in about 1000 movies, not to mention countless rock DJs who play it in the background while they talk. I heard it on Live 105 once while a DJ was talking. Wyn Kelly plays piano on this one, taking a solo after the ever-recognizable horn intro. I love his piano playing, it's very simple, but extremely articulate and wonderful. Miles' and Coltrane solos follow, both completely flawless. Miles leaving space as usual, Coltrane, who's just beginning to explore his full speed and "sheets of sound" especially shines, on what is IMO his finest moment on this album.
Blue In Green
A ballad, this song features mostly Miles. The softest song on the album, it's also my least favorite. However, Miles' compositional genius shines on this one, and the Piano, courtesy of Bill Evans, is awesome. This is one of the greatest jazz ballads of all time, and it's something that takes a second listen to get into. Sure, I don't like it as much as the rest of the album, but it's still amazing.
This is, yes, a blues. It's also completely revolutionary. It's the first jazz blues based song to use Modal soloing rather than Chordal. It's genius. The overlaying of the three horns in the beginning of this song is absolutely stunning. It's real cool for a blues, it keeps it's integrity, and isn't gritty in the slightest. This song features especially fine work from drummer Jimmy Cobb, who at times sounds almost like the then pre-teen Tony Williams. Evan's phrasing here is something that would obviously later influence Cecil Taylor. This song features strong solos again, and really shines.
The song is something that really influenced my playing. I heard it before I heard the second, full, take, but I like this one better. It's a little rawer than the rest of the albums, and it feels like a dark night in the rain. Miles' muted trumpet sound shines through here, on what is arguably his best trumpet work ever. Words can't really describe this song, it's absolutely amazing.
Flamenco Sketches (Alternate Take)
Another version of an amazing song. What can I say? Although not as cool as the original, it's outstanding and genius.
Bottom line is, if this isn’t in your collection, you don’t have a collection. Rock and punk, metal and rap, pop and jazz fans alike will love this record.
It’s the Sgt. Pepper
of jazz, really, good for relaxing, drinking, meditating, making love, and just plain listening. So get it-and dig it. Oh, and buy someone you love a copy.
This album is simply genius. It's completely amazing. Words cannot describe.