Kind of Blue by Miles Davis (Album of the Week)

miles-davis-kind-of-blue

Album: Kind of Blue

Artist: Miles Davis

Year: 1959

Details: 6 songs; 56 minutes (includes the second version of Flamenco Sketches)

Who’s Choice: Gone Mild

I loved playing the trumpet. I still have the trumpet that my parents bought me when I first started taking lessons in 5th grade. Sometimes, when I come across that case, I will open it up and play it a little bit. Having a sense of what it takes to play the trumpet, did inform me a little as I spent the week with Kind of Blue. However, this record is much more than trumpet. Even with my trumpet chops (just kidding), I have some trepidation about trying to write about this album.

I know this album is a masterpiece. I wanted to give it the respect that it deserves. Going in, I felt that I probably should be hearing things or listening for specific things, but I wasn’t sure what they were. Added to this, starting out, I was almost a little afraid that I would not like it. While I don’t dislike jazz, I find myself getting a little bored when the passing from instrument to instrument goes on and on and on. If Kind of Blue annoyed me, how uncool of me would that be?

I learned Kind of Blue this week by playing it loudly in my car. I did not hate it. It did not annoy me. I surrounded myself with the beauty of it every day (one thing that is super cool with this recording is how it uses the stereo. It really did surround me!).

The recording that we listened to is the remastered version. There are 6 tracks; the sixth being a different version of my favorite track (Flamenco Sketches). According to the liner notes, the original recording was done at the wrong speed so the key was off. This version is pretty, clear and clean. There is one point that I hear the spit rattling in Miles’ horn (that is my trumpet knowledge helping me out right there).

This album speaks cool. It is the soundtrack of noir movies. It is the background in a dark bar with a couple dancing in the corner. It is awesome.

It is written that Miles Davis gave each of the musicians minimal information about each of the pieces and then they recorded. That’s it. The style is called modal jazz. I read about it. I don’t understand it. I like how it sounds.

I was surprised how composed the album is with the other musicians. I would also say that of the musicians (John Coltrane, Julian Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, Bill Evens, Wynton Kelly), Davis isn’t the best. But what he does with that beat is awesome. I don’t know where he is putting things or how he is putting it there, but it fits and it is perfect. Jimmy Cobb, the drummer on the album, famously said of this album that “It must have been made in heaven.” I  get that.

I am glad that Dan picked this one, because I would not have come to it on my own. This is part of my soundtrack now. Dan and I struggled similarly with our jazz naivete. Here is what he has to say about it.

Up next: My pick, Jake Bugg

jake bugg

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