August 17: Miles Davis Released the Masterpiece “Kind of Blue” in 1959





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“It must have been made in heaven.”
– Jimmy Cobb

Kind of Blue is a studio album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released August 17, 1959, on Columbia Records in the United States. Recording sessions for the album took place at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City on March 2 and April 22, 1959. The sessions featured Davis’s ensemble sextet, which consisted of pianist Bill Evans (Wynton Kelly on one track), drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley.

Though precise figures have been disputed, Kind of Blue has been described by many music writers not only as Davis’s best-selling album, but as the best-selling jazz record of all time. On October 7, 2008, it was certified quadruple platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It has been regarded by many critics as the greatest jazz album of all time and Davis’s masterpiece.

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The album’s influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical music, has led music writers to acknowledge it as one of the most influential albums ever made. In 2002, it was one of fifty recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In 2003, the album was ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

A Quartet In The Studio

Kind of Blue was recorded in two sessions at Columbia Records’ 30th Street Studio in New York City. On March 2, the tracks “So What”, “Freddie Freeloader”, and “Blue in Green” were recorded for side one of the original LP, and on April 22 the tracks “All Blues”, and “Flamenco Sketches” were recorded, making up side two. Production was handled by Teo Macero, who had produced Davis’s previous two LPs, and Irving Townsend.

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TV performance from 1959, incredible archival footage where Miles Davis and John Coltrane play So What from Kind of Blue:

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’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality… 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.
—Stephen T. Erlewine (allmusic)

Track listing:
All songs written and composed by Miles Davis except where noted 

1. “So What”
2. “Freddie Freeloader”
3. “Blue in Green” (Miles Davis and Bill Evans)
4. “All Blues”
5. “Flamenco Sketches” (Miles Davis and Bill Evans)

Musicians

  • Miles Davis – trumpet, band leader
  • Julian “Cannonball” Adderley – alto saxophone, except on “Blue in Green”
  • Paul Chambers – double bass
  • Jimmy Cobb – drums
  • John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
  • Bill Evans – piano (except “Freddie Freeloader”), liner notes
  • Wynton Kelly – piano on “Freddie Freeloader”

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue 50th Anniversary:

 

1959 – The Year that changed Jazz.
A very good documentary from BBC.   Four absolutely canonical LPs were recorded that year: Kind of Blue by Miles DavisTime Out by Dave Brubeck; Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus; and The Shape of Jazz to Come by Ornette Coleman. Good interviews and great music:

Album of the day:

– Egil & Hallgeir

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