Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.94) - Ranked #13 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "This painterly masterpiece is one of the most important, influential and popular albums in jazz..."
Q (4/99, p.129) - Included in Q's list of "The Best Jazz Albums of All Time."
Q (3/95, p.116) - 5 Stars - Indispensable - "Widely considered the greatest album in jazz history, Miles Davis' 1959 masterpiece is a collection of exquisitely melodic and deceptively simple modern jazz..."
Down Beat (1959) - "This is a remarkable album. Using very simple but effective devices, Miles has constructed an album of extreme beauty and sensitivity. This is not to say that this LP is a simple one--far from it. What is remarkable is that the men have done so much with the stark, skeltal material.
JazzTimes (8/97, p.106) - "...The absolutely beautiful Coltrane solo on the `Flamenco Sketches' alternate is alone worth the price....The restoration of the sound to the correct pitch makes enough of a difference to recommend repurchasing this classic even without the jazz track of the year aboard..."
Vibe (12/99, p.158) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century
Blender (Magazine) (p.67) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "Its ageless cool now seems intertwined with its backstory: Just months after making the album, Davis and most of his sidemen would spin off in different directions, founding entire schools of jazz."
Paste (magazine) (p.61) - "[T]he music draws you in with seductively gentle restraint. It's a recording with a pristine elegance."
Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet); Miles Davis; Paul Chambers (double bass); Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone); John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans (piano); Jimmy Cobb (drums).
Audio Remixer: Mark Wilder.
Liner Note Authors: Bill Evans ; Robert Palmer; Nat Hentoff; Robert Palmer .
Recording information: Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York, NY (03/02/1959-04/22/1959); Columbia Street Studio, New York, NY (03/02/1959-04/22/1959).
Photographers: Don Hunstein; Jay Maisel.
With Birth of the Cool, Miles Davis distilled a new tonal palette for jazz. As early as 1954, Davis reacted to the escalating chordal complexity of hard bop by fashioning an evocative blues based on a simple scalar pattern ("Swing Spring"). Kind of Blue was the ultimate fulfillment of this approach, with Davis providing his collaborators little more than outlines for melodies and simple scales for improvisation. By emphasizing the blues and the improvisor's melodic gifts, Kind of Blue precipitated a major stylistic development: modal jazz. Charles Mingus had experimented with pedal points throughout the '50s, and the melodic freedom of Ornette Coleman's Atlantic sides was also predicated on freedom from chord changes. But Kind of Blue was to prove the most influential, enduring work of its kind. There was just such a vibe about these 1959 sessions -- Davis' lyric genius and burgeoning stardom, the innovative voicings and rarefied touch of pianist Bill Evans, the electrifying presence of John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderley --that some 50-plus years after its initial release, Kind of Blue is still recognized as Davis' point of departure toward jazz's less-explored regions. Bill Evans' translucent chords and Paul Chambers' famous bassline herald the revolution that is "So What": Davis and Evans' taut, coiled lyricism stands in sharp relief to the saxophonists' labyrinthine elation. The fat, shimmering beat of the classic Evans/Chambers/Jimmy Cobb rhythm team is an oasis of calm throughout the childish blues of "Freddie Freeloader." Often credited to Davis, "Blue in Green" is an Evans masterpiece, in which the rhythmic oasis becomes a smoky mirage for Davis' minor reveries on muted horn. The waltzing "All Blues" is one of the smoothest, most swinging grooves in the history of jazz, while "Flamenco Sketches" reflects Davis' fascination with the earthy melodies and brooding metaphors of the Iberian peninsula; a harbinger of his next masterpiece, Sketches of Spain. Kind of Blue remains Miles Davis' most evocative piece of musical haiku.
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