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Kind Of Blue
Kind Of Blue
This is the one jazz record owned by people who don't listen to jazz, and with good reason. The band itself is extraordinary (proof of Miles Davis's masterful casting skills, if not of God's existence), listing John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley on saxophones, Bill Evans (or, on "Freddie Freeloader," Wynton Kelly) on piano, and the crack rhythm unit of Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Coltrane's astringency on tenor is counterpoised to Adderley's funky self on alto, with Davis moderating between them as Bill Evans conjures up a still lake of sound on which they walk. Meanwhile, the rhythm partnership of Cobb and Chambers is prepared to click off time until eternity. It was the key recording of what became modal jazz, a music free of the fixed harmonies and forms of pop songs. In Davis's men's hands it was a weightless music, but one that refused to fade into the background. In retrospect every note seems perfect, and each piece moves inexorably towards its destiny.
"As the painter needs his framework of parchment, the improvising musical group needs its framework in time," says Bill Evans in the liner notes to Kind of Blue. "Miles Davis presents here frameworks which are exquisite in their simplicity and yet contain all that is necessary to stimulate performance with a sure reference to the primary conception." Amen. During the past 40 years, the performances Davis' stimulated from Evans, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, and Wynton Kelly have become some of the most storied in jazz, and all of them - classics such as "Freddie the Freeloader," "All Blues," "Blue in Green," and, of course, "So What" (featured) - are featured on this Columbia/Legacy reissue.