Writing in the LA Times on Sunday, Scott Timberg provides a nice analysis and perspective on the importance of Kind of Blue, the recording we are well aware is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Timberg’s is but one of numerous editorial commendations given Miles Davis’ seminal recording this year – a collection of classic tunes and a brilliant cast of musicians undoubtedly deserving of all the attention.
It was both a radical stylistic experiment and an album parents could put on after dinner without waking the kids. It’s a manifesto, a meeting of musical minds, and it’s moved millions of copies to remain the bestselling jazz record of all time. Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue,” released in August 1959, featured what might be the finest group in jazz history; it virtually founded a new musical style — called modalism — but it also marked the beginning of the end of the genre’s mass popularity.
“It’s one of the most inviting portals into the world of jazz,” said Ashley Kahn, author of “Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece.” “People think of jazz the way they think of French wine, like you need a degree to approach it. But you can play this as social wallpaper in Middle America during a cocktail party. If you turn the volume up, it’s high art.”
Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’ at 50 – LA Times