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Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue CD (album) cover


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.34 | 1050 ratings

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5 stars By the late 1950's, jazz had become a family of varying styles from Dixieland to be bop to free jazz. One characteristic that plagued much of the jazz coming out at that time, be bop in particular, was the increasing tonal complexity of the arrangements. Miles Davis found the chord structures to be a bit thick for good improvisation, and he sought to buck the trend and simplify things by creating music that eschewed the tonality and atonality of be bop. Instead, the focus of improvisation would be on staying inside by utilizing simple scales within the framework of what would become modal jazz. Although Miles had already experimented with this idea on his album Milestones in 1958, he would perfect it with Kind of Blue a year later, and in the process he would create a true masterpiece.

The genius of Kind of Blue lies in the simplicity of the arrangements, which lends itself to more freedom for improvisation. For example, Paul Chambers' simple yet melodic bassline on So What is the most complex part of the piece, yet Davis, Adderley, and Coltrane are still able to stretch out, yet their solos stay within the piece's modal framework. Another example is the beautiful Flamenco Sketches. Bill Evans major 7th-based modes on piano provide the foundation for Davis' muted trumpet to soar. All Blues is straight ahead 12-bar blues in structure, but with a foundation of modes rather than a standard 3-chord progression, Davis and company create a unique sound that would be at home at either a smoky juke joint or swank jazz club.

Kind of Blue is one of those moments in musical history whose true impact wasn't felt until later. The less- is-more style of the arrangements and subsequent improvisational freedom became the blue print for the future of contemporary music, influencing the likes of Eric Clapton and Duane Allman not to mention a whole slew of jazz musicians and jam bands. It is the recording which jazz newbies reach for the most and not surprisingly has become the best selling jazz album of all time. It is a must-own recording of the highest caliber for all music fans, including fans of progressive music.

jimidom | 5/5 |


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