I’ve just taken delivery of a new 180g blue vinyl US pressing of one of my favourite jazz records, Miles Davis’s ‘Kind Of Blue’. It’s rather startling to see the names of MD’s ‘accompanists’ - Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Winton Kelly.
Miles must have been pretty confident in himself to have such a distinguished group of musicians to play alongside him. It’s hard to imagine a more stellar line-up.
For those who don’t know the album, it’s a fairly easy way of getting into modern jazz, and comes highly recommended.
Graham out of interest; three of the original tracks were recorded at the wrong speed and so we’re in the wrong key. Later cd’s corrected this error and put the three tracks in the correct key. Does your new vinyl record have the same correction or is it the original analogue recording?
Indeed, though putting together extraordinary line-ups to support him is something Miles did throughout his career with breathtaking discernment. KoB is a great example, but there’s the First Great Quintet, the Second Great Quintet and then the players on Bitches Brew right through to Marcus Milker on Tutu.
The number of people who Miles selected to play with him and who then went on to form their own groundbreaking groups is quite amazing. He might have been a less than delightful human being, but his ability to spot and combine talent was pretty much without parallel.
It is one of my favourite jazz albums as well. As well as being accessible to people new to jazz, it is many ways a revolutionary album in its use of modal scales. Briefly, scales varying in one or two notes give the pieces quite a distinct sound. Modal jazz was pioneered by bandleader and composer George Russell. Bill Evans had played with Russell.
Another off-shoot of this extraordinary album is that Coltrane recorded his monumental record ‘Giant Steps’ with the rhythm section from Kind of Blue at about the same time.
Please let us know how you like the recording you purchased. I would like to purchase another copy myself.
Years ago, I read a review of it on (I think) Amazon which made me smile. It went along the lines of: “I’ve never liked jazz, never understood it, never seen the point of it. I listened to this, and jazz made sense. I still don’t like jazz, but at least I now understand it and can see the point of it.”
According to Columbia my 1997 CD says that only the ‘recent’ gold Master sound edition vinyl record had all the tracks at the correct speed. My impression of Miles that he would have been happy with the sound as the band played and perhaps didn’t even listen to the master tape afterwards. Of course records often are released after many months, sometimes over a year later and he would have moved on. He was cheesed off that pop/rock musicians would earn as much for one large rock concert as for him several weeks playing in jazz clubs. And as he said they can’t even play their instruments!!!
I discovered Bill Evans through Kind of Blue. I adore his playing and have purchased way more Bill Evans albums than Miles Davis. I always find it astonishing how some jazz artists have led such tragic lives but are still able to play the most beautiful music. Chet Baker and Art Pepper to name a few.