11/22/2009

Milestones: 'Kind of Blue'

[Our series of posts on albums, movies, etc that celebrate significant anniversaries this year continues. - KJ]


MILES DAVIS 
Kind Of Blue
[Sony-1959]

Ah, yes: a landmark record which we happen to love more and more with the steady passage of time. But what can we truly say about the giant that is Kind Of Blue that hasn’t been already said seemingly over a million times and rightfully so? Absolutely nothing.

But we’ll say it anyway:

A work of pure genius that is cerebral yet accessible; largely improvised but played in a very cohesive manner by a stellar lineup of jazz greats in their prime; loved by neophytes and jazz scholars alike. Kind Of Blue is arguably—actually, the dissenters number as many as the dodo bird—the greatest of all jazz albums. Adding to its stature is the fact that as recently as the early years of this century, generations after its original release, it was known to sell at a rate of 5,000 copies a week, making it the biggest selling jazz album of all time.

So, to summarize, what is it about this 50 year-old album that still captures our hearts after uncounted repeated listenings? 
Is it that:

a) as musicians we can appreciate the artistry of Miles and the cast of heavyweights on it (including John Coltrane and Bill Evans)?
b) as music fans it speaks to us so profoundly?
c) its presence brings an added reflective quality to any situation: from conversation to romance to bliss?
d) perhaps, all of the above?

Answer: d), silly.

[Cover art courtesy of Wikipedia.]

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