how to listen to jazz

Jazz Icon Miles Davis: Kind of Blue


This week, Scott and Karl are joined by Producer Trent Jones to discuss the best-selling jazz record of all time, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Recorded in 1959 at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City, this album brings together six other now-legendary musicians in the prime of their careers: tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb.

As a trumpeter, Davis is known for experimenting with “modal jazz” instead of the usual harmonic foundation of jazz. As Scott puts it, “he is deconstructing the art to seek some expression.” Trent continues, “Structured music can push you to feel a certain thing whereas here, we are exploring. It’s free-form. It’s more in tune with the raw emotions and thought that is happening.”

Kind of Blue has been regarded by many critics as the greatest jazz record, Davis’s personal masterpiece, even one of the best albums of all time. If something gets the moniker of ‘the best ever,’ you have to wonder: is it famous for just being famous? As a Davis fan, Karl says, “It’s a different type of jazz. It’s been influential in all sorts of atmospheric kinds of music that floats around you.”

Tune in for more music and ideas, brought to you by Online Great Books.


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