Adding to the cavalcade of tributes commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kind of Blue, a new book, The Blue Moment: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music, will be released this summer.
Written by The Guardian’s chief sports writer and former Melody Maker editor Richard Williams, the book charts the impact the album had on listeners, many of whom, as Williams writes, may have Kind of Blue as “the only jazz album they own”.
Williams also explores the genesis of the album, building from the late-1940s when Davis set the stage for creating his masterwork.
“The cool world was born between 1947 and 1949 in a basement room at 14 West 55th Street in midtown Manhattan,” according to Williams.
That address, behind a Chinese laundry, was the home of arranger Gil Evans, who was to collaborate heavily with Miles Davis in the 1950s before Kind of Blue.
According to JazzWise, Williams takes an intriguing detour to investigate the influence of Camus and existentialism and the image that Davis began to be identified with. “Miles Davis’ dark Italian suits and his European sports cars made him stand out from the generality of jazz musicians in the 1950s,” he says.
The trumpeter, he argues, becomes a graphic symbol of “inner freedom”.