Weekend Reading: The Blue Moment

book_blue_moment “There have been many books about Miles Davis, one of the twentieth century’s most protean musical figures, but The Blue Moment is unlike any other work on the subject.

Richard Williams takes as his starting point the making of Kind of Blue, Davis’s most celebrated album, and shows how movements in art, philosophy and music fed into this meditative, melancholy masterpiece, first released in 1959. The haunting palettes of Picasso, Matisse and Yves Klein influenced the mood of a culture that valued the colour blue so highly; and the blues, mediated by jazz and other kinds of music, had become the sound that signified ‘coolness’.

Williams tells the story of album’s creation in miraculously few hours in a converted Manhattan church and elegantly sketches the roles of the other five musicians who played on the recording. This is then the foundation for an ambitious exploration of Kind of Blue’s influence on the whole course of late-twentieth-century music, which moves in surprising directions through the labyrinth of sound.”

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