Monday, August 22, 2011


Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)

So many gallons of ink have been spilled in praise of Miles Davis' masterpiece, Kind of Blue, that anything I add here will invariably end up seeming redundant, repetitive and totally unnecessary. Suffice it to say that the hundreds of critics and scholars who call this "The Best Jazz Album Ever" aren't exaggerating in the slightest. Eschewing Bebop and taking one of the most incredible bands ever assembled (Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb, Paul Chambers, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane) into the studio to explore the wide open spaces of modality, Miles came out on the other side with an album that quite simply demands - and amply rewards - every thinking music lover's full and undivided attention. It would take someone far more knowledgeable about the mechanics of music theory to explain how this works to any accurate degree, but roughly it means that, instead of being given a composed score, a series of chord progressions or a harmonic framework, each musician was given a set of modal scales defining their improvisational parameters. The end result was something Davis called "Modal Sketches", but you might as well just call it magic. Look, just trust me on this one, okay? Seek out Kind of Blue at your earliest possible convenience, in any format you can get your hot little hands on, set aside an hour, maybe roll yourself a spliff, smoke it slow and just... dig... the groove.

Had I heard it befoer? Yes.
Did I like it then? Yes.
Do I like it now? Immensely.
Am I keeping it? Yes.
Standout Tracks? Every cut is a Standout Track.

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