Epic Album of the Week: Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
Written by Ian Gerber
For The Soda Shop
Welcome back! I hope the holidays brought a lot of awesome into your life. If not, let me help.
I figure that the first Epic Album of the Week be something special…so we are going old school. This week’s album is Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.
You might be saying, “Why is The Soda Shop covering jazz?” Well, let me tell you….
There are a lot of stories about this album that can be told. Well, first, there is the amazing roster of musicians who performed on it like John Coltrane, “Cannonball” Adderly, Bill Evans, and Jimmy Cobb who are all legends in their own right. Can anyone say “SUPERGROUP”? Second, this album is almost completely improvised. The musicians were given vague charts of short melodies or chord changes. Miles would tell them to “play the color green” as opposed to A minor to Gsus7. Also, it brought the modal improvisational style of jazz, as an alternative to Hard Bop, to the forefront of the musical discussion that was being spread through the growth of jazz as America’s favorite music, at the time. To top it all off…its is arguably the greatest selling record of all time, beating out such giant records like Led Zepplin’s ‘IV’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. When you think about it…there should be no argument for its epicness, even if you just look at the sales figures. If you are still lost…jazz musicians were stoners. There you have it.
Now while I would believe you to be a fool if you say you don’t like jazz, you can certainly appreciate its influence. It’s reach was farther than the confines of genres. Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix both cite it as a major influence in their music. The idea that a rock musician could put together a group that was based on improvisation as opposed to having a songwriter or two calling all of the shots. Could you imagine “stoner” rock without guitar solos? If anything, this record gave the guitar soloists of the day, not to mention every other musician playing at the time, warrant to explore those inner thoughts that can only be conveyed through song. A true cosmic hymn to the heavens and a mirror into the human soul. Sound serisous, doesn’t it?
This is an album that reaches into thoughts of higher consciousness, musically speaking. As musicians, we owe a lot to this record. If you don’t have this one in your collection…I hope you are 14 years old. Otherwise, its a shame and an oversight to any music lover’s collection.