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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue CD (album) cover


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.35 | 1127 ratings

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5 stars Upon looking at and reviewing Dave Brubeck's Time Out, it struck me that of what little cool jazz I've heard so far, I've really just not enjoyed it much at all, with the one exception to this being quite possibly the most obvious album for it to be. Kind Of Blue is an album that everyone and their dog has heard of by this point I'm sure, being cited as the best-selling jazz albums of all time, along with both incredibly good and influential to the genre as a whole. While these claims may not be things to influence my personal opinion at all, it's still impossible to deny the immense legacy of the album, a legacy that the album quality itself manages to represent quite cleanly. One aspect of this album that's definitely especially interesting for me is how it manages to be both considered quintessential newcomer jazz, yet is one that continues to reveal more of its greatness after coming to know the genre better.

I feel like the big aspect of this album that separates it from the cool jazz I've heard, and honestly a lot of more mellow jazz as a whole, is the immersive atmosphere and incredibly prominent overarching feel of the album, giving more weight to even the more mellow stuff. The album has a consistently soothing, nocturnal atmosphere to it, being remarkably chilled out and just evoking a lot of warmth and comforting night-time imagery. Each element of the band just plays off each other perfectly as well, with moments like the way the bass and piano play off each other in So What, each bringing their own masterful little melody to the table and elevating one another perfectly, never overlapping, and ultimately serving to highlight both halves of this little exchange. The album as a whole feels extremely unified, with its sound being extraordinarily consistent without getting repetitive or too samey, with that core atmosphere and a bit of a bounce to the rhythm being 2 especially consistent aspects. This isn't to say that the album is also without character either, with moments like the intro to Freddie Freeloader sounding like So What but with longer held notes, or the repetitive trumpets of All Blues definitely serving as very memorable aspects of this all.

Another thing that really separates this album to a lot of other mellow jazz albums is the way that it has slightly more of an edge to it comparatively. While I'm not saying there's anything here that is particularly energetic or intense at all, I feel that the improvisations do pack that bit more of a punch to them compared to what I'd typically expect, with moments such as Coltrane's solo in So What being especially notable for picking up the pace and volume slightly. This of course wouldn't be something I'd consider worth particular positive mention if not for the fact that as with everything else on the album, the execution of it is immaculate, managing to complement the mood of it without sounding as if there's any forced restraint to the playing either, sounding very subdued without sounding underdeveloped. I feel that Blue In Green deserves special mention for being the epitome of what I find this album to stand for, taking that relaxing feel to a whole new level, everything being significantly more subdued than even anything else here, each component acting as just something else to elevate Miles passionately playing his heart out for the majority of it. Bill Evan's piano here evokes a profoundly lonely, yet comforting tone that works perfectly with this, along with the very hazy sort of sound that the track as a whole has, which overall feels like a bit of a culmination of the album as a whole.

While it may be generic to say, it doesn't change the fact that I do believe that Kind Of Blue is a masterpiece and largely deserving of its incredible amount of acclaim. While the album may never sound particularly exciting nor as immediately ear-grabbing as some others, it succeeds at being a remarkably well crafted, understated album that is very evocative and exhibits a band working in absolute perfect harmony. Its title as an entry level album is one that I'm a bit mixed on however, because while I do think that this is essential listening, it follows the similar issue I have with Brubeck's Time Out, that being that if one's issue with jazz is feeling that it sounds inoffensive to them, this album has a good chance of not changing that thought process due to its very similar sound throughout and lack of energy. Even so, this still is an album I recommend early on for newcomers to the genre, as I believe it to be essential listening, but also heavily recommend it to be one to revisit multiple times at different points down the line, as my personal love for the album has only grown the more I've explored the genre.

Best tracks: So What, Blue in Green

Weakest tracks: None

Kempokid | 5/5 |


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