Kind Of Blue at 60
Saturday 17th August was – to the day – the 60th anniversary of Kind Of Blue's release on Columbia Records so here at Jazz FM, we’ve played the album in all its splendour.
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Before we indulge ourselves with the album the way it should be enjoyed - Side 1 followed by Side 2 - we hear from Miles himself talking about his fellow musicians on the album and from Jimmy Cobb (both gained from archived online documentaries), plus exclusive material from Miles’ son Erin Davis, multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawney and contemporary trumpeter Jay Phelps, who is recreating the album for a live project.
Throughout the broadcast, follow our Twitter feed (@jazzfm) for a commentary on the album – featuring quotes, facts and memories from musicians and fans alike. Join the conversation using the hashtag #KindofBlue60
About Kind Of Blue
Kind of Blue is regarded by many critics as the greatest ever jazz record, Davis's masterpiece, and one of the best albums of all time. Its influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical genres, has led writers to also deem it one of the most influential albums ever recorded.
It was recorded in 1969 on 2nd March ("So What", "Freddie Freeloader", and "Blue in Green") and 22nd April ("All Blues" and "Flamenco Sketches) at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City.
The album features Davis' ensemble sextet consisting of saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, with former band pianist Bill Evans appearing on most of the tracks in place of Kelly.
Kind of Blue was produced by Columbia staff producer Irving Townsend, although over the years there has been confusion, with Davis's subsequent producer Teo Macero getting partial or full credit.
Technically, this is what makes the album so ground breaking…
Kind of Blue is based entirely on modality, in contrast to Davis's earlier work with the hard bop style of jazz and its complex chord progression and improvisation. The entire album was composed as a series of modal sketches, in which each performer was given a set of scales that defined the parameters of their improvisation and style. This style was in contrast to more typical means of composing, such as providing musicians with a complete score or, as was more common for improvisational jazz, providing the musicians with a chord progression or series of harmonies.
Jazz FM's Chris Philips recently took part in the MOJO Magazine Innovators podcast along with trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey and MOJO's Danny Eccleston to discuss Miles, and the importance of Kind of Blue...