Originally released in 1959, Miles Davis''s magnum opus Kind of Blue is still considered by many to be one of the greatest albums of all time. Starring Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb, Kind of Blue has held onto its status as an album that crosses genres, speaks to generations, and is one of the first (if not the first) album that any new jazz acolyte purchases. Kind of Blue (Legacy Edition) offers the complete studio sessions on 2 CDs, including false starts, alternate takes and a 17-minute 1960 live version of "So What."
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. --John Szwed
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