Friday, 14 November 2008

Miles Davis's Kind Of Blue.

Kind Of Blue (1959) is widely considered to be jazz icon Miles Davis (May 25, 1926 – September 28, 1991) magnum opus. Several songs from this album have been considered jazz standard. The album is also widely recognized as being influential outside of jazz genre; rock and classical musicians often cite this album as part of their influence. The assembled sextet include pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane (tenor sax) and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto sax). Recorded in two sessions, Miles almost did not call up any rehearsal and the members of his assembled sextet had little ideas on what was going to be recorded. According to Wiki, "Kind of Blue is based entirely on modality in contrast to Davis's earlier work with the hard bop style of jazz and its complex chord progression and improvisation. The entire album was composed as a series of modal sketches, in which each performer was given a set of scales that defined the parameters of their improvisation and style". Davis is influenced by pianist George Russell's concept of scale-based musical improvisation in contrast to his earlier work with the hard bop style of jazz. As described in the original liner notes by pianist Bill Evans, the band had only received sketches of scales and melody lines to improvise and would go on from there. Once the musicians were assembled, Davis gave brief instructions for each piece and then set to taping the sextet in studio. I first obtained this album after being highly recommended by a friend back in Perth. After several casual listening to it, the songs gradually get to me, like an ear worm, I would hum tunes from the album unexpectedly. This year being 50th anniversary of this landmark album, I decided to get the double discs Legacy version from online which contains several additional bonus materials apart from some alternative takes of the original songs. "If you are going to heaven, might as well go first class all the way". And this album makes sure you are in first class.

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