on 25 March 2004
There are swathes of jazz listeners who only seem to rank a piece of work if it has a kazillion notes, all played frenetically and showing extraordinary technique yet wouldn't know a beautiful album if it hit them in the face, frank_fan is obviously one of these. Not an heretic, just a tad misguided I feel.
I was chatting with a friend recently and he is of the opinion that if someone plays very little or is economical with the amount of notes being played, that they are wasting their musical talent. I have one word to say to that:- Bullsh*t. Sometimes, it pays to strip back the playing to define the overall sound, Kind of Blue being one of those occasions. The playing is sublime, each musician contributing a little conversation and the others only chipping in when they have something to say.
This is arguably the most popular jazz album in the world EVER and it's not hard to see why. It has everything. The arrangements allow each player to breathe, to reflect on what's being said. There is no clutter, no wasted notes. It's as if something great is at work here, as if each musician is a channel for the music to flow through. It's a moving, gently evolving document that thankfully has been preserved for all time.
Whether you like jazz or hate it, give Kind of Blue a listen. You will either warm to it or be left cold but it's an album that has to be heard at least once, after all greatness only comes along occasionally. Catch this slow train to musical Heaven. Wonderful. Classy. Unsurpassed. This is Kind of Blue.
Words cannot really do justice to this album. If it catches you just right it is all about the experience and not some intellectual definition. It's a classic for a reason and a great introduction to Miles Davis and jazz in general. Lower the lights, open a bottle of red wine and put this on, it's what jazz is all about!
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This set comprises 3 albums recorded during 1957 to 1959. The compositions on CD1 are all by Miles Davis (Miles Dewey Davis III,May 26, 1926 - September 28, 1991) as are those for the album Ascenseur pour I'Échafaud (Fontana) with the final 5 tracks from Somethin' Else providing a mix of standards and new compositions. CD2 features the musical cues for the 1958 Louis Malle film Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud. The original soundtrack to the film, as mixed and edited in 1958, and used for the screen, can be heard in tracks 1 to 10 of CD2. "Kind of Blue" (Columbia) has been cited by many music writers not only as Davis's best-selling album, but as the best-selling jazz record of all time. In 2002, it was one of fifty recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. "Somethin' Else" is a 1958 album by jazz musician Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, regarded as a landmark album in the hard bop and cool styles. This LP was notable for the presence and prominent contributions of Miles Davis, in one of his few recording dates for Blue Note Records. The running times are approx 48 minutes and 65 minutes. The sound quality is very good indeed, the set is well illustrated and packaged with the liner notes by Peter Gamble. Glenn Gretlund produced the compilation. Look out for more classic jazz albums from Not Now Music
on 3 April 2014
To those who have never heard this album before then you may think its great and the music is but the quality of the recording is so poor some of its is unlistenable its been so badly recorded. I have the 1997 remaster CD and that's the best stereo version available, and n comparison to that CD this is awful.
The album has been recorded off another CD but not the 1997 remaster. All you can hear really is Miles Horn, the rest of the band lack any detail as for the drummer well on Flamenco Sketches where he's using brushes it sounds like it raining in the studio. Overall this public domain reissue is a disaster, which is why i will not be buying anything from the DOL label ever again.
You would be better off buying the 1997 CD than this poorly recorded vinyl reissue, also the DOL label itself looks crappy and cheap..
If you´re a music fan it´s a horrible question when someone asks you, "So what´s your favourite record?" It´s especially difficult if you´re like me and enjoy listening to a myriad of styles and genres. When asked I usually pause for a few seconds and then start to tell them all about this.
This recording is beyond music. It´s life. It´s a lonely man walking an empty windswept street. A constantly shifting landscape, pulling your emotions one way and then the next. It´s somebody in heaven looking back at the happy and sad moments of their life.
This is six brillaint musicians for a short time in complete harmony with each other. A truly unique moment. At not one moment during the recording does anyone dominate, each musician takes their turn as if it were sewing a delicate patchwork quilt. Miles Davis is so subtle here, his trumpet sounds like tiny footsteps. We also witness one of John Coltrane´s most controlled and understated performances.
Wynton Kelly´s performance on piano is a triumph, he adds so much texture to the recording.
Listening to this traps you in the moment. For it´s duration you feel like you are nowhere, no date, no time, no worries, just complete peace. I hope this is what they play in heaven.
This is an incredible bargain: three Miles Davis classics, including the iconic 'Kind of Blue', 'Ascenseur pour l'echefaud' from a Louis Malle soundtrack, and 'Somethin' Else', a 'Cannonball' Adderley album on which Davis makes a substantial contribution. All three albums are remastered onto two cds, with a real warmth to the sound. 'Kind of Blue' is a beautiful, elegantly played, restrained and melodic album which is likely to appeal to those wary of jazz. It features Miles' trumpet hanging sublimely over the rhythms of drums, bass and piano, and counterpointed by Adderley's sax. It's a true classic of its kind.
Also on the album is a set of moodily atmospheric, ghostly jazz of short pieces which are the soundtrack to a French film 'Lift to the Gallows', so the music is highly appropriate! Finally, there is Adderley's album which features 'Cannonball' on sax, meshing fluidly with Davis trumpet, especially evocatively on 'Autumn Leaves', 'One for Daddy-o' and 'Dancing in the Dark'. All three are classic albums of their time, and all are rated 'outstanding' by Penguin Jazz Guide, and given top **** ratings. This is a simply unmissable bargain, even at treble the price, so snap this up now while you can. Mouthwateringly good.
on 17 March 2000
Every few years, albums come along that change you, stay with you and live with you forever. John McArthur's "HIDDEN", Keith Jarrett's, "The Koln Concert", Dave Brubeck, "Jazz Impressions of New York" and the ultimate album, Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue."
With an all-star line-up, bolstered by Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and John Coltrane, this is without question the coolest album ever to be recorded. Great solos, intertwined among each other, moving seamlessly from one to the other. The music ebbs and flows like a cool stream.
Legend has it that this was literally a first-take; done without any rehearsal, which moves the greatness of this album into a whole new (and until then) unoccupied tax bracket.
If you know nothing about jazz, this is without question the place to start. If you don't think you like jazz, this is worth a listen. Try it; you'll like it! Even in a music collection without any other jazz, this is the one album to have. Listening to it will make you want to explore Miles and his compatriots more and more. Any collection of music would be incomplete without it. "So What" and "All Blues" are first among equals here.
on 21 February 2002
This is a quintessential jazz album, it has a flow to it that connects all the tracks like few others. When the Sony SBM remaster came out a few years back, Barry Fox, a well respected UK audio journalist declared it the greatest small group jazz recording of all time. Praise indeed, but valid.
Miles, Trane, Cannonball, Bill Evans, Wyn Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb - all legends in their own right... but all together made something magical happen in these sessions. There's even two books published recently about the making of this one album... what other piece of serious popular recorded music can you say that about? If you don't own it, buy it now, you won't regret it
on 12 March 2003
Kind of Blue is a famous album, the number 1 jazz best seller and - some would say - the best jazz album ever. This particular CD edition is the one to have because it has as a bonus an alternate take of "Flamenco Sketches" and more importantly, as the liner note points out, the 20-bit re-mastering gives the music a greater depth and richness of tone and it now plays at the correct pitch (all previous versions on LP, tape or CD have played at the wrong pitch, as musicians who tried to play along with it have discovered).
The album is famous partly for the way in which it combined modal harmonies (the use of scales rather than conventional chord sequences) with more traditional structures, giving the improvising soloist a greater range and freedom in his solos. This in itself marked a new phase in Miles's continually developing music, although the implications of the music were probably exploited most fully by John Coltrane in his subsequent work after leaving Miles's group. Well as he plays here, I've always felt that Coltrane's style and approach often fitted a bit uncomfortably within Miles's groups, especially at faster tempos. His rhythmic approach seemed never wholly compatible with that of his colleagues and I think he only really began to "swing", in the particular style he went on to develop, in his famous quartet of the early sixties. But the fairly slow pace of the pieces on this album enabled him to play with a degree more relaxation (if that's an appropriate word) than was often the case in previous recordings with Miles. He solos with typical probing intensity on the medium tempo tracks and with a kind of dignified tenderness on the slow pieces, "Flamenco Sketches" and "Blue in Green".
There's a school of thought which holds that Cannonball Adderley, even if he is a technically accomplished musician playing at his best here, is 'the weakest link' in this group, unable to make anything genuinely his own out of his glib Charlie Parker clichés. On the other hand, Miles Davis obviously thought him worth employing on what he seems to have regarded as an important project. Decide for yourself.
Miles himself sounds majestic and supremely confident throughout, subtly varying his tone and making typically creative use of space in his melodic lines. He had often been at his most inspired when playing on blues based themes at a steady walking pace which gave him the time to think ahead, to 'place' his phrases and to shape his solos, as he does here on "All Blues", "Freddie Freeloader" and (although it's not a blues) "So What". On "Flamenco Sketches" his tightly muted trumpet gives his playing a sense of controlled passion that anticipates some of his work on the Sketches of Spain album; on the lovely ballad "Blue in Green" his use of the mute conveys more of a wistful, piercing lyricism.
Of central importance to the music is pianist Bill Evans. The eight months he had previously spent with the group (Miles had invited him back for Kind of Blue) convinced Miles that he was the right man for the album he had in mind. Not only was Evans closely involved in the evolution of the music, but also his calm, poised, impressionistic playing - behind the soloists and in his own finely wrought solos - is enormously important in sustaining the mood of each piece. Listen to the cryptic way in which his simple motifs on "So What" and his shimmering trills on "All Blues" establish the mood of those pieces from their opening bars. And who else could have 'orchestrated' the haunting "Blue in Green" with such glowing lyricism? (There seems to me a perceptible slackening of tension in "Freddie Freeloader", the one piece on which Evans doesn't play.) Underneath all this interesting work by the soloists there is the calm, disciplined drumming of Jimmy Cobb and the rock steady beat of the magnificent Paul Chambers on bass.
Kind of Blue is historically important, marking a new and influential stage in the development of post-'bop' jazz; but it's also timeless. And its modal harmonies and feeling of 'stillness-under-the-surface' create for many listeners a sense that each time the music plays, time itself is suspended.
on 18 March 2009
This SACD version of one of the most famous jazz album of all time, is a very good release.
The packaging is the same as the CD version and so the notes and the booklet.
The sound is really good with no significant noise and the instruments are well separated and focused in space.
Not a reference audiophile disc but a very good product.
And the music? well, Miles Davis was one of the biggest artist of twentieth century, if you have a jazz collection you must have this album!