Author Topic: 60 years of Kind of Blue  (Read 18885 times)

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Offline Alek Hidell

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2020, 03:52:27 PM »
Sorry, but Kind of Blue is the greatest recording ever made. And I will brook no disagreement. ;D
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2020, 05:14:43 PM »
Sorry, but Kind of Blue is the greatest recording ever made. And I will brook no disagreement. ;D

Bust heads!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2020, 07:21:52 PM »
For that time period, Round Midnight and Milestone are much better. In terms of compositions and solos.

Offline Irons

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2020, 10:47:15 PM »
For that time period, Round Midnight and Milestone are much better. In terms of compositions and solos.

So they might but they are not iconic and Kind of Blue is.
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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2020, 06:44:27 AM »
So they might but they are not iconic and Kind of Blue is.

Yes, the status and fashionable image of KOB was constructed by the music industry, photographers and book authors hired by it, and the mass who blindly follow the publication. Probably Round Midnight is more accomplished music than KOB.

Offline Irons

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2020, 06:24:32 AM »
Yes, the status and fashionable image of KOB was constructed by the music industry, photographers and book authors hired by it, and the mass who blindly follow the publication. Probably Round Midnight is more accomplished music than KOB.

I get what you are saying but deep down are you resenting as a jazz aficionado that the rest of the world who are not as committed as you think Kind of Blue is great? An album that we all can enjoy - even non-jazz fans because it is so good.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Old San Antone

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2020, 06:43:34 AM »
Yes, the status and fashionable image of KOB was constructed by the music industry, photographers and book authors hired by it, and the mass who blindly follow the publication. Probably Round Midnight is more accomplished music than KOB.

I am not sure what your standard is for making this judgment.  It is easy to take Kind of Blue for granted, but at the time it was released it was quite remarkable.  'Round Midnight is also a great album (as are many of Miles's records), but will never have the status of KoB, and I don't have a problem with that.  For a variety of reasons KoB is in a class of its own. 

I listen to KoB regularly, more than any other Miles record, actually more than any record.  It is the only album which I have never tired of listening to, it is unique in that regard.  Herbie Hancock considers it of such high quality that he ranks its with the best of classical composers.  And I don't think Herbie's opinion was created by "the music industry, photographers and book authors hired by it." 

You denigrate all the musicians and fans who have reacted to KoB in a positive manner when you accuse them of being manipulated by a marketing machine.  For some reason you feel the need to rebel against the collective opinion about this great recording.  You may express a personal and subjective opinion, while many musicians and critics across six decades have lauded KoB the result of which has been to cumulatively create an objective consensus.

Offline MN Dave

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2020, 07:00:27 AM »
It's a fine, fine album and I can see why it is considered a classic.

Do I pull it out often to listen? No, too much other stuff I like better.  8)
“The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

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Offline T. D.

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2020, 07:43:45 AM »
It's a fine, fine album and I can see why it is considered a classic.

Do I pull it out often to listen? No, too much other stuff I like better.  8)

+1 on this.

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2020, 08:52:50 AM »
I get what you are saying but deep down are you resenting as a jazz aficionado that the rest of the world who are not as committed as you think Kind of Blue is great? An album that we all can enjoy - even non-jazz fans because it is so good.

For some reason you feel the need to rebel against the collective opinion about this great recording. 


Ad Hominem

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2020, 09:19:32 AM »
It's a fine, fine album and I can see why it is considered a classic.

Do I pull it out often to listen? No, too much other stuff I like better.  8)

That's cool, too, mate.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2020, 09:20:28 AM »
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Old San Antone

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2020, 10:17:50 AM »
'Round About Midnight was released in March 1957.  It was the last recording to feature the first great quintet, Chambers, Garland, Jones, Coltrane and Miles.   The arrangement of the Monk tune, "Round Midnight", was to remain in Miles' book for decades, and is the definitive recording, IMO, transcending even Monk's own.  But aside from that track, the rest is a rather standard fare for a jazz group of the late 50s.  For sure, this band swings fiercely, but it doesn't rise above other hard bop groups of the period.

Milestones was recorded with his "first great quintet" augmented as a sextet, released in 1958.  This makes a tentative first step towards the modalism of Kind of Blue, but the title song is rather crude compared to "So What" which uses the same harmonic progression.  Another Monk tune appears, "Straight No Chaser", but with nothing distinguishing it from countless other performances/arrangements of this blues tune - Monk's many recordings easily top it.  The rest is a group of standards and jazz heads designed for blowing.  A very good recording, but again, fairly typical of the late 50s hard bop sound.

Kind of Blue was recorded on March 2 and April 22, 1959, at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City, and released on August 17 of that year. The album features Davis's ensemble sextet consisting of saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, with new band pianist Wynton Kelly appearing on one track in place of Evans. In part owing to Evans' joining the sextet during 1958, Davis followed up on the modal experimentation of Milestones by basing Kind of Blue entirely on modality, departing further from his earlier work's hard bop style of jazz.

With Kind of Blue, Miles Davis went from leading one of the best jazz groups to establishing a career high mark.  No standards, but two blues heads, although one atypically in 6/8 time - the rest were modal compositions and played not in the prevailing hard bop but a cooler style.  The album is far more original that any previous Miles Davis recording, or any other recording by any jazz musician at that time with the exception of Ornette Coleman's first recording also released in '59.  Kind of Blue marked the beginning of a pattern for Miles Davis, a course of invention and re-invention of his bands and style for the rest of his career.

It would be hard to overstate its importance or level of excellence.  All of the musicians involved played at the peak of their careers, and the mix of personalities created a collective sound unmatched by few bands.  Only the second great quintet played with more simpatico and intuition.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2020, 10:20:01 AM by Old San Antone »

Offline Old San Antone

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2020, 10:50:28 AM »
As an addendum to my previous post, I'll add just one review which is typical of so many others.

AllMusic Review

Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album. To be reductive, it's the Citizen Kane of jazz -- an accepted work of greatness that's innovative and entertaining. That may not mean it's the greatest jazz album ever made, but it certainly is a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps it's that this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of "So What." From that moment on, the record never really changes pace -- each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It's the pinnacle of modal jazz -- tonality and solos build from chords, not the overall key, giving the music a subtly shifting quality. All of this doesn't quite explain why seasoned jazz fans return to this record even after they've memorized every nuance. They return because this is an exceptional band - Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, and Wynton Kelly -- one of the greatest in history, playing at the peak of its power. As Evans said in the original liner notes for the record, the band did not play through any of these pieces prior to recording. Davis laid out the themes and chords before the tape rolled, and then the band improvised. The end results were wondrous, filled with performances that still crackle with vitality. Few albums of any genre manage to work on so many different levels, but Kind of Blue does. It can be played as background music, yet it amply rewards close listening. It is advanced music that is extraordinarily enjoyable. It may be a stretch to say that if you don't like Kind of Blue, you don't like jazz -- but it's hard to imagine it as anything other than a cornerstone of any jazz collection.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2020, 11:02:17 AM »
'Round About Midnight was released in March 1957.  It was the last recording to feature the first great quintet, Chambers, Garland, Jones, Coltrane and Miles.   The arrangement of the Monk tune, "Round Midnight", was to remain in Miles' book for decades, and is the definitive recording, IMO, transcending even Monk's own.  But aside from that track, the rest is a rather standard fare for a jazz group of the late 50s.  For sure, this band swings fiercely, but it doesn't rise above other hard bop groups of the period.

Milestones was recorded with his "first great quintet" augmented as a sextet, released in 1958.  This makes a tentative first step towards the modalism of Kind of Blue, but the title song is rather crude compared to "So What" which uses the same harmonic progression.  Another Monk tune appears, "Straight No Chaser", but with nothing distinguishing it from countless other performances/arrangements of this blues tune - Monk's many recordings easily top it.  The rest is a group of standards and jazz heads designed for blowing.  A very good recording, but again, fairly typical of the late 50s hard bop sound.

Kind of Blue was recorded on March 2 and April 22, 1959, at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City, and released on August 17 of that year. The album features Davis's ensemble sextet consisting of saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, with new band pianist Wynton Kelly appearing on one track in place of Evans. In part owing to Evans' joining the sextet during 1958, Davis followed up on the modal experimentation of Milestones by basing Kind of Blue entirely on modality, departing further from his earlier work's hard bop style of jazz.

With Kind of Blue, Miles Davis went from leading one of the best jazz groups to establishing a career high mark.  No standards, but two blues heads, although one atypically in 6/8 time - the rest were modal compositions and played not in the prevailing hard bop but a cooler style.  The album is far more original that any previous Miles Davis recording, or any other recording by any jazz musician at that time with the exception of Ornette Coleman's first recording also released in '59.  Kind of Blue marked the beginning of a pattern for Miles Davis, a course of invention and re-invention of his bands and style for the rest of his career.

It would be hard to overstate its importance or level of excellence.  All of the musicians involved played at the peak of their careers, and the mix of personalities created a collective sound unmatched by few bands.  Only the second great quintet played with more simpatico and intuition.

Most interesting, thx!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2020, 06:45:59 AM »
My comments on RAM and KOB are presented below.

Round About Midnight

Round Midnight- Excellent. Great arrangement, theme (Miles) and solo (Trane). The music with aura.

Ah Leu Cha- Excellent. Intelligent arrangement and it is significantly different from the Bird original. The Miles’ solo and PJJ’s drums sound great. Slight hint of mode to come?

All of you- Good/Fair.
Blackbird- Good/Fair. The recording made the song popular in Jazz.

Tadd’s Delight- Excellent. Great/modern arrangement and very different from the Navarro/Dameron original. The performance of Miles and PJJ are outstanding. This is not a Hard-bop sound anymore.

Stockholm- Very Good. Thoughtful and sophisticated arrangement. The recording made the tune famous. The solo starts with the bass followed by Trane, and the last and unforgettable solo by Miles. Slight hint of modal approach? The music sounds very “new”.

All these songs evince that they are not in the paradigm of Hard-bop any more, and they are new in terms of the format and sound.


KInd of Blue

So What- Good/Fair. On appearance, the tune may sound new due to the modal piano and deep reverb of the sound. However, Miles’ solo is largely, if not exclusively, based on the blues pentatonic scale, and not very different from his music for the French movie years earlier. The TV program version, as well as the versions of Live 1964 and Tokyo later, sound much better (and more modal). Dorian scale (minor with augmented 6th) would become more prevalent in his solos years later.  Right here, only Evans is a modal player with a frequent use of II minor. Miles a little bit, others non.

Freddie F.- Good/Fair. Good piano by WK.

Blue in Green- Excellent. Innovative composition and great performance. Picturesque music.

All Blues- Good/Fair. Due to the 6/8 rhythm, it may sound new to some people, but essentially the tune is a folk-theme blues. The theme and Miles solo are based on the Bop/Mixolydian scale, rather than the Spanish scale as some claim.

Flamenco Sketches- Very good. Innovative, if somewhat artificial, composition and decent performance.

Throughout the album, Jimmy Cobb is not as colorful as PJJ. However, it would be a mistake to consider him less qualified than the latter. Cobb’s performance is refined and sophisticated. Also, at this moment, Bill Evans is the only full-modal player in the group. Chambers remain as a conservative player. It is questionable if Cannonball really fits well here. Overall, the album is not as musical as Round Midnight. Neither it is as innovative as George Russell’s Workshop released ealier.

Offline Old San Antone

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2020, 04:10:33 AM »
This short film might be interesting for this thread:

The Making of Kind of Blue (2004) | Miles Davis

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Pwc1d4qxz4M" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Pwc1d4qxz4M</a>

Offline BWV 1080

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2020, 01:01:11 PM »
Great album, but in terms of how much I listen, my ESP / KOB and BB/KOB ratios are in double digits

Offline Old San Antone

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2020, 05:07:42 AM »
Great album, but in terms of how much I listen, my ESP / KOB and BB/KOB ratios are in double digits

Yesterday I created chronological playlists of Miles recordings, broken up in roughly stylistic periods.  Great to go back and here the development.

Offline Alek Hidell

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Re: 60 years of Kind of Blue
« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2021, 12:18:01 PM »
I'm more on San Antone's side here. I think Kind of Blue is the greatest record ever made, period, but you are all of course entitled to your (incorrect and blasphemous) opinions. :D

When I first heard the alternate take of "Flamenco Sketches" many years ago, I was astounded: it was just as good as the "official" take, the two saxophonists' solos in particular. I love the way Coltrane creates tension by rising repeatedly up to one particular note before finally resolving it with one single note above the repeated one. (Sorry, I don't have the knowledge to describe it in more technical/musical terms.) Sometimes I even prefer this alternate take to the "official" one.

I know many of you will have seen this before, but here's the band (sans Adderley, with Wynton Kelly on piano) on a TV production in 1959. Among other things it's notable for being one of the very few performances of "So What" (in fact I can't think of another one) in something close to the original album tempo - it wasn't long at all before Miles began performing it at a much faster tempo, for what reason I don't know. Anyway, the magic was clearly still present here: just listen to Miles' solo, for example.The first time I heard it, I almost wept.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/nGvfBNywa3g" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/nGvfBNywa3g</a>
"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist." - Hélder Pessoa Câmara