MILES DAVIS — Kind of Blue (review)

MILES DAVIS — Kind of Blue album cover Album · 1959 · Cool Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
dreadpirateroberts
Is it hyperbole to call this one the Birth of Cool?

Yeah, I know. 'Cool' started earlier. And 'Kind of Blue' has a healthy dose of modal jazz too. But there aren't a lot of 'cool jazz' albums like this. It's a jewel in jazz history itself. And it's so easy to rave about 'Kind of Blue' when you're sitting there between the headphones (or speakers) just drifting away ...

If you're unfamiliar with the album, then consider it filled with cool, gentle and cool-bop or 'nod-along' moments, executed with a precision that is stunning. Soloing from lead players is top notch, the rhythm section remains unobtrusive while still holding everything together, and the compositions themselves are the kinds that you instantly feel must be classics. I wish I could hear this album again for the first time.

Part of what makes 'Kind of Blue' for me, is the balance of cool and warm tones. Adderley and Coltrane's saxes (along with Chambers' bass) supply a lot of warmth, which is contrasted by Evans and Miles. On tracks like 'Blue in Green' or 'Flamenco Sketches' especially, Miles' trumpet evokes the sound of night. Of dark streets wet with rain. And even if that's a cliche, it feels right.

As a side note, I find myself enjoying the alternate take of 'Flamenco Sketches' (found on CD issues of 'Kind of Blue') better. Something about the way some of the solos are stretched, how notes are held. It's wonderful.

Five stars here, an essential masterpiece - of any musical genre.

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