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Nowadays, there are a lot of new jazz albums had been published every year, buy different new and old artirsts. But there is one that was rated as one of the greatest album jazz of all time, the one that no one can forget listening to since the first time, that is “Kind of Blue”. The album was released in 1959, by Miles Davis, an American jazz artirst, also known as a trumpeter.
Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis had nearly fifty years in his career, started as a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker’s bebop quintet from 1944, until the day he passed away, he was always a person with highest enthusiasm in jazz music. In his adolescent years, instead of keeping with his studies, Davis was more concerned with his career as a musician in a band. Davis made some of his first recordings in 1945, though Miles was not as developed during this time, his style was already easily recognizable and distinguished. In 1959, August 17th, he released “Kind of Blue”, with his ensemble sextet, the album that was departed further from his earlier work’s hard bop style of jazz. “Kind of Blue” was 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 by Columbia Records, now as known as Sony. It was performed by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, alto saxophonist Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, pianist Bill Evans appearing on most of the tracks.
All players were to have legendary careers, but it was Coltrane who took Miles’ modal template and went furthest with it, with spectacular results. No other recording in jazz has come remotely near acquiring the kind of cachet “Kind of Blue” has accumulated over the decades. It’s an album that has probably been responsible for more conversions of non-believers into the jazz faith than any other, it has been the base-station from where countless fans have begun their journey into jazz and it’s an album that crops-up in the record collections of classical, rock, pop and Country and Western devotees who would not otherwise give jazz house room.
The first track of the album is “So What”, the standard song of modal jazz, and I did pay attention to the lightness, space, and relaxed structure within which an improvising instrument can breathe, I can feel Coltrane move effortlessly with that tenor saxophone. That’s framework is the genius of Miles Davis, and the exquisite performance by Bill Evans on piano.
The second track is “Freddie Freeloader” is a much more straightforward Blues piece, but it’s a stunner, and I can really hear how much pianist Wynton Kelly was enjoying it, provided some excellent comping to all the soloists. Cannonball made the most of the changes, with some phrases coming out in a growling sputter. Bill Evans is the star of Blue in Green, and anchored by an authoritative bassline, he produces a devastatingly subtle sound, which Miles and Coltrane solo over in a whisper.
The third track is “Blue In Green”, which was composed by both Miles Davis and Bill Evans. Evans opened with a short intro, followed by Davis’ solo. Using a Harmon mute, his horn was like a wounded lover in the night to me. Evans provides a thoughtful interlude and then Coltrane plays an all-too-brief solo that demonstrates what sweet sound he could emit from his tenor saxophone. Evans returns with another interlude and sets up Miles Davis for a final statement.
The fourth track is “All Blue”, the longest one with about twelve minutes. A piano intro led into Davis’ muted statement of the theme with the saxophone gliding it along. Miles gave a stately solo like the international jazz icon he was. It is crisp, efficient, and direct. By contrast, Coltrane’s solo swings as he loses himself in the rhythm provided by Evans, Chambers, and Cobb. Adderley’s sonorous alto sounds like he came straight out of church to the studio. It soaks up both gospel and blues elements. Cobb hits the percussion blocks behind Evans’ meditative solo. The band regroups to play the theme once more, but before the fade-out Miles manages to squeeze in a few more ideas.
The last track is “Flamenco Sketches”, which has 2 different versions. The alternate take was released after and also counted as the last track of the album, I will tell about this music piece. The track has much of the “sketch” about it and little of the “flamenco”, is gorgeously sad. It begins with a bass that sounds as if it is slowly dying, and Miles’ trumpet provides an eulogy. It encompasses a heartbreakingly beautiful feel that is the perfect conclusion to this perfect album. Miles Davis seems to use this track to send us away with lumps in our throats, but big smiles on our faces. Like so many other moments on this album, it’s perfect, and it’s just right. There a theory that the titles of All Blues and Flamenco Sketches were switched on the CD lately, but if the Davis calls it Flamenco Sketches, that’s proof that it was called that all along. So, switching the song titles seems to describe each piece more effectively.
This masterpiece “Kind of Blue” is still the best jazz album ever in the history, and it really made me addicted to jazz after listening to it.
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