In the early spring of 1959, six musicians went into a studio in New York. Their leader, Miles Davis, was already the most celebrated of the younger jazz musicians in America. Two of the players were ex-junkies; two of the others were still addicts. They spent six hours there that first day. A few weeks later they returned for another three hours. ...
In the early spring of 1959, six musicians went into a studio in New York. Their leader, Miles Davis, was already the most celebrated of the younger jazz musicians in America. Two of the players were ex-junkies; two of the others were still addicts. They spent six hours there that first day. A few weeks later they returned for another three hours. In those nine hours they recorded, in a collaborative effort, one of the finest albums of the 20th century. "Kind of Blue" is haunting, melodic and plaintive, a recreation of the musical roots of jazz. This volume recreates those few hours in New York in words and photographs. Ashley Kahn writes about the careers and struggles of the music makers. He explains, without jargon, what makes the music so unusual. He has listened to all the tapes, and he takes us through the making of each track on the album, and he has interviewed the survivors. He also writes about the album's influential afterlife.
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-08-11 Classic jazz's bestselling album ever, Kind of Blue, is at once a beacon to nascent jazz fans and a pillar of professionals' listening repertoires. Its immense sales figures confirm its place in music history's annals, and its musical significance still impacts artists. In this close-up look at the story behind the 1959 album, Kahn (VH1's music editor) digs through photographs, sheet music, interviews and studio recordings to present a truly impressive tribute. He begins by setting the scene: in the late 1950s, jazz had already seen various styles, from swing to hard bop. Trumpeter Miles Davis, influential even before Kind of Blue, was a respected musician who could easily pull together jazz's best talent. His team on Blue consisted of alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderly, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Bill Evans (with Wyn Kelly filling in on one tune), bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Whether or not they knew the two days spent in New York's 30th Street Studio would be so affecting, the musicians labored over the album with poise and dedication. Kahn transcribes revealing conversations between takes, relaying Davis's quips on rhythm and feel. The album is recognized as a groundbreaking piece that defined modal jazz, characterized by longer solos and slower tempo, with the haunting "So What" leading the pack in terms of recognition and emulation. The other tracks, especially "Blue in Green" and "All Blues," embody the album's moody, trance-like feel, and Kahn's insightful interpretation will propel veterans to reexamine the music they've been listening to for years. 64 b&w photos. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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