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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue CD (album) cover


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.35 | 1105 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Forget chord progressions, this post-bop jazz outing is riddled with virtuosity and is smoother than a cashmere codpiece. 'Time Out' developed jazz in a completely different way during the same year; that album was impressive, but this album is cool!

Miles Davis, in his increasingly stylish way, decided to rid jazz of its 'bulkiness' and replace those headache- inducing extended-chords with simple tonalities that weren't so much 'played' as 'suggested'. With at least 5-6 other instrumental masters on board, he led his style-army into a flurry of modal mega-jams, in which little music was dictated other than the main riffs. Continuous soloing around a pre-defined sequence (held together with pretty much the bass alone) ensured that there would never be a moment where the listener wasn't hit with something melodic. But more importantly, the music was groovy. Even today, it sucks you in and holds you prisoner for its duration, which shouldn't be seen as a bad thing. I do feel slightly imprisoned when listening to 'Kind of Blue', mainly because of the hard consistency of the music, but there is nothing less comforting for a jazz hostage than such smooth, flowingly excellent sounds.

Miles leaves clever gaps in the music, and it is in these areas that the listener occupies his time, absorbing the spacious sounds of Coltrane, Evans, Cobb, and Davis himself.... all on the same album! I wouldn't say the songs were necessarily "well- constructed" because they aren't so much 'constructions' as 'foundations' for the layering of solos on top, but they have well-thought-out structures that prevent each outgoing from becoming dull; the listener never has the door shut in their face at any point, and this is something that is rare in jazz of this era. 'So What' and 'All Blues' display this particularly well. We are equals in the Miles Davis ritual, and his musicking is an inextinguishable source of pleasure and admiration.

I can't give this famous album five stars. Not because of Prog Archives guidelines, but because, despite how much Miles has impressed me, the music just doesn't compare to his later works, or indeed to some of the jazz-rock that I have heard. I am grooved out, but I am not in love.

thehallway | 4/5 |


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