on April 1, 2004
About 6 months ago, I was a newcomer into the ridiculously large realm of Jazz music, and I needed a place to start. So I bought this album hearing from many that it was a classic. Needless to say, they were right!
Miles Davis is a truly amazing trumpet player, and his jazz ensemble doesn't fall short of him either. With people like John Coltrane wailing on sax and Bill Evans' great piano (the first piano break on Freddie Freeloader is my favorite part of the album), its truly a masterpiece. I'll break it down track-by-track.
So What- A good slow piano-bass intro, that eventually moves into an improv section with a catchy tune.
Freddie Freeloader- Almost 12-bar, but jazzed up quite a bit. Just a good swinging song to sit back and relax listening to.
Blue in Green- beautiful horn on this one, whatever it is (I'm not exactly the horn master myself), and good piano playing from Evans. A slow one.
All Blues- A lengthy intro before the improv begins, but nevertheless very good, with a dynamic horn part, sounds like it had a little bit of classical influence.
Flamenco Sketches- A nice closing track, soothing yet articulate, one to fall asleep to.
All in all, this CD has a great song for every kind of mood. And hey, for 10 bucks, its a good price for a classic album you'll treasure for a long time.
on July 16, 2004
This album is incredible , amazing . It doesn't happen very often one recording reachs so cosmic heights .
You may consider a simple account about this statement.
Think in I love Paris (Michel Legrand)(see my review) . In this case Davis is present in the recording session , and we are just talking about the supreme jewel of the instrumental music in any time . I mean , if I love Paris (made in 1954) reached this status (years before A kind of blue) , you must agree with me that Miles Davis owned the magic playing , moreover, the poetic level (and when I talk about poetry , I mean the greek sense of the term , which is creation ).
Specifically , Davis was a very illustrated man , with a strong introspective approach . The notes are there , but the scope is the difference , the velvet touch , the exact expressiveness and the precise instant in what the note must sound vibrato or languish . Davis played music as he would be making a film, writing a book or painting , his trumpet was a brush , a pen or a script according the case .
Notice for instance the Davis sound . I mean Davis was original because he goes to the origin , and transforms the notes , making them "sing" . There are other examples in jazz such as Stan Getz in the saxophone , Wes Montgomery in the guitar or Bill Evans in the piano .
In Davis there was a deep sense of the expression and the wholeness meaning about jazz represents : this sense of freedom , and also a wide spectre of changing sensations , loneliness , happiness , sadness , anguish , desperation or seduction . This gradual sense of the tonal color about every note he played , you may find in the classical music giants , like Casals in the cello playing the Bach suites , Sandor Vegh conducting Mozart or Furtwangler conducting Beethoven or Bruckner , or Lipatti playing Chopin waltz . The sense of the expression and the real presence of commitment to achieve one specific sound and no other one.
A Kind of Blue will be a reference standard not only for many years but also centuries .
I have not any kind of doubt about that.
I can not say I know anything about Jazz music, although I always loved it due to my parents passion for it, hence I decided to erase my ignorance and start to educate myself about it. So I hinted on this album during the holiday season and ended up getting this as part of my Christmas gift from my father. I wanted this album due to Miles Davis name only. And I was spellbound by it; it's really a breathtaking peace of music. On one hand I was delighted and on the other hand I was upset!! Delighted because I got the chance to listen to this phenomenon, and upset because since I'm going to start my Jazz library I know that anything I listen to after "Kind of Blue" will pale and fade in comparison but I'm sure that the people that I know will also help me on this.
I can listen to "Kind of Blue" over and over and over and not get sick of it. As all the reviewers have stated above and below, it is one of the best if not the best jazz CDs of all time. Rather than repeat the praises of others, I want to say that this album is truly influential for other artist out there and actually puts many records since its time to shame, simply talking recording fidelity here. The actual art contained here has me floored and excited to spend much, much quality time with Miles and friends. Every member of Miles' group is a jazz superstar in his own right. "So What" often gets the most attention, but my favorite chart (of all time, perhaps) is "All Blues". Miles really knows how to create an ambience, and the solos are stunning. "Blue in Green" is also a perfect example of beauty on this album. The only thing I wish different about this song is the length, in fact. It clocks in as the shortest piece on the album, although to make it longer might make it less perfect. The way that Miles can hold a note and make a flub sound like exactly what he meant to do is literally bone chilling. His phrasing is like a ghost that visits the corners of your mind and then moves away just as you are about to grasp it. The alternate take of "Flamenco Sketches" is wonderful and a great bonus in this album.
The music on this is extraordinary, and almost everyone (including none Jazz fans) will love this music the minute they hear it. "Kind of Blue" is a work of art which must be preserved, so that our children and their children will know that beauty did at one time exist in vast amounts and that perhaps they will learn to create it as well. I Highly, highly recommend this!
on November 1, 2003
It doesn't matter if you listen to Britney Spears, Napalm Death, the Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Limp Bizkit, Garth Brooks, or Chopin. You'll like this album.
If you've ever been alienated by the diffuse, seemingly scattered nature of Jazz (particularly with famous artists such as Charlie Parker or Dizzy Gillespie), fear not. This album is the standard-bearer of "Cool Jazz" - a more melodic, more ear pleasing style. The band is a veritable who's who for the Jazz uninitiated - Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderly on the same album? Even those completely unfamiliar with the genre know these names.
There is no excuse for EVERYONE to not own this album in some form - it's the single most influential album in virtually every form of modern music, and you need to hear it.
on April 30, 2012
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, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because 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 the overall key, not chord changes, 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 Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb -- 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 before the tape rolled, and then the band improvised. The end results were wondrous and still crackle with vitality. Kind of Blue works on many different levels. 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.
on October 14, 2003
This is probably the most revolutionary album in modern jazz, and probably always will be. Miles Davis introduces a new way of improvising, a new way of thinking, and this album will make you find a new way of listening to music.
"So What" is of course a classic. It had a form like no other song at the time. Only two chords: D-7 for 16 bars, Eb-7 for 8 bars, and then 8 bars of D-7 again. No one had done such a thing in jazz before (Coltrane later recorded an up-tempo song with a different melody, but with this very form, called "Impressions"...also worth looking into).
"Freddie Freeloader" is a blues. The melody is played for 24 bars, but what makes this blues different from a normal rock-progression-blues is bar no.11&12. Listen!
Then there is the extremely soft ballad "Blue In Green", which, again has a wierd form; 10 bars that repeat throughout the whole thing with a not-so-logical-but-very-beutiful-chord-progression. It's kind of hard keeping track where the form starts over again, but it doesn't matter when you're listening to musicians like this.
"All Blues", again a classic...well, they all are...this blues is played in 3/4, which hadn't been done a lot in jazz either. Charles Mingus did it in 1959 (the song "Better git it in your soul"), but I don't know if it was Miles or Mingus who first recorded a 3/4-blues. Anyway, they were only a couple of weeks apart (recorded in the same studio)!
"Flamenco Sketches" is a very nice, smooth piece, but rarely played as a cover by other musicians, unlike all the other songs on the album...maybe because it's hard to find it as sheet music, I don't know, and I don't understand why it's never gotten as much attention as the rest of the songs, since it fits in nicely with the feeling of all the other tracks. The bonus track is a second take of the song.
On this album plays (one of my favorite sax-players of all time) John Coltrane, who in 1959, had not YET developed anything revolutionary on his instrument, but still played very nice solos.
Cannonball Adderley plays alto sax. He has a very different way of thinking than Coltrane, when it comes to solo playing. He plays long lines with a lot of variation. Hats off!
Paul Chambers plays bass throughout the record. Listen to the walking bass-line on the first 16 bars of Miles' solo on "So What". Chambers plays a repeated figure with a little variation every time, which sounds like a separate melody underneath the solo; Quite unusual in walking-bass at the time.
I believe this is the first time that Bill Evans recorded with Miles. He was not a very famous piano player at the time, unlike now that he has played on this album. Bill Evans plays on all tracks but "Freddie Freeloader" (Wynton Kelly).
And Miles himself, a genius in modern jazz to say the least...I don't know where I'd start...just listen. Get yourself at least one copy of this album. More highly recommended than any other album by Miles Davis. Now, if you haven't heard this music - do yourself a favour and order this disc. No regrets...
on June 23, 2004
Everybody who has any respect for jazz at all should have this album. It is like a little slice of heaven. Coltrane and Cannonball are in top form; Cannonball is his usual energetic self, inventing contours within the minimalistic chord changes, and Coltrane is in modified Giant Steps mode, tearing through thick sheets of sound and offering a contrasting view to the more work he was doing on his own, which had so much underlying complexity. Many say that Bill Evans did his best playing with this group (or maybe that was just Miles...) and the rhythm section as a whole provides a perfect and quite evocative backdrop for Miles' understated elegance. But for all jazz fans' raving about this CD, many people buy it and are diappointed because of how chill it is. I was disappointed because I thought Miles wasn't doing anything, but the simply beauty and perfect delicacy of his spontaneous melodies are the main selling point of this album.
on November 6, 2015
It’'s Miles so it can't be that bad. But I was very disappointed to see a '“Digitally remastered”' print on the sleeve which was not mentioned in the description. Now, let's be clear about this : when you buy a vinyl, you want a product that was never transferred to digital. Otherwise you get the worst of both mediums : the loss of stereo imaging on digital, and the added noise of analog.
This said, while this version is not stellar Hi-Fi, it could be worst; it does seem that the vinyl was pressed from hi-res digital. The mastering is strange (and certainly not needed)(the piano is sent to the far background while the winds are so upfront' typical no subtlety of digital aesthetics), but I do listen to it regularly (waiting for a serious edition from MoFi, for instance).
on November 26, 2013
I got this for my dad's birthday. He loved it (I have listened to it a few times too...it is a classic after all)
The extra cd has some interesting takes but the first disc is the one you will keep coming back to.
Trying to like Jazz I bought this CD as one of the classics. It took me a few listens but I am starting to enjoy this album. Some of the horn solos keep you coming back for more. A really good sounding CD considering the vintage. Both John Coltrane and Charles Mingus are too "far out" in improvisation for me but this music seems a little more grounded in the main musical theme. This is a good thing for a jazz noob like me.