Not so many albums can equal the Miles Davis’s 1959 classic “Kind of Blue”, generally considered the greatest album in the history of jazz. With a superb band backing Davis, this is an major recording even for people who don’t usually listen to jazz.
With Miles on trumpet, Cannonball Adderley on alto saxophone, John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Paul Chambers on bass, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans on piano, and Jimmy Cobb on drums, we hear every creative counterposition imaginable.
This recording was the beginning of modal jazz, and while Coltrane displays his free, unorthodox style and intense tone, Miles balances this with his contrasting smoothness and sparse phrasing. Adderley adds color to Coltrane’s sound with a more melodic yet rhythmically daring style of his own, which usually characterizes his traditional classic phrasing. Bill Evans, whether accompanying or soloing, prefers a style more likened to the title of the album. He glides elegantly and profoundly on top of the driving yet laid back swing of Jimmy Cobb. Paul Chambers serves as the technically dynamic and harmonic foundation for the group, lending his exceptional skill to a tight rhythm section.
By the time Davis recorded Kind of Blue in March 1959, the band had gone through numerous permutations. Coltrane had left for a short time and returned and had made a string of dazzling, increasingly experimental recordings as a leader on Prestige. Wynton Kelly replaced Bill Evans who had replaced Garland, with Evans returning as a key partner for the most of Kind of Blue. Jimmy Cobb had replaced Jones, Chambers remained and Cannonball Adderley had joined on alto to make it a sextet. It’s an extraordinary collocation of circumstances, from Davis’ simplified modal architecture to the harmonic richness of Evans and Coltrane’s otherwise contrasting styles to the elegant funk of Adderley (and Kelly, too, in his sole appearance on “Freddie Freeloader”). It’s an open canvas in which each individual voice marks itself with special definition and has become more remarkable through repetition and reception. Originally a work of inspired improvisation, Kind of Blue seems almost set in stone, its every sound considered and perfectly placed.
Track Listing: So What; Freddie Freeloader; Blue In Green; All Blues; Flamenco Sketches; Flamenco Sketches (Alternate Take)
This album throws away conventional song and chord structure that had been definitive to most jazz musicians, welcoming a new structure based on modes. More than a landmark in jazz, Kind Of Blue is a defining moment of twentieth century music. To see descriptions of other albums , visit thismiles davis blogspot.