Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album. To be reductive, it's the Citizen Kane of jazz – an accepted work of greatness that's innovative and entertaining…
Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue possess such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of "So What." From that moment on, the record never really changes pace – each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It's the pinnacle of modal jazz – tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality. All of this doesn't quite explain why seasoned jazz fans return to this record even after they've memorized every nuance. They return because this is an exceptional band – Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb – one of the greatest in history, playing at the peak of its power.
When he released "Bitches Brew" in 1970, Miles Davis opened up a new angle to jazz which stirred up emotions like no other record before. Some critics accused Davis of selling out, while the public bought it like crazy. It is one of the most examined albums of all time, even garnering a box set of the sessions. To date, "Bitches Brew" is one of the top selling jazz albums of all time. "Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue" examines the next step in the creative process…performing these songs live. The 1970 Isle of Wight featured an array of performers from The Who to Jethro Tull to Joni Mitchell. With improvisation playing a big role in the performance, the band (Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Gary Bartz and Dave Holland) had to be "on", yet ready to change on the fly. Directed by award-winning producer Murray Lerner, "Miles Electric" sits down with several of the performers who played with Miles, interspersed with his 1970 Isle of Wight performance, as well as artists such as Carlos Santana and Joni Mitchell, who describe the impact Miles Davis had towards music.
Referring to "Kind of Blue" as the best jazz album of all time might actually be doing it a disservice. Jazz is one of those complex artforms which many people shy away from, afraid that they will not be able to understand it. So extoling its virtues might frighten people even more. But "Kind of Blue" is simply beautiful music. When listening to it, you forget everything you might feel about jazz, whether good or bad, and can only listen to it, amazed and excited. Miles Davis has created something so powerful yet full of simple, memorable melodies. Every note takes you further into that state where you simply hush up, tell whoever you are with to shut up, and listen. It is certainly not the type of music I would put on when friends come over for a chat. But it is an album which I can listen to, over and over and over again. Definitely something for MUSIC fans.
Neil Young established himself as one of the most influential and idiosyncratic singer/songwriters of his generation. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website describes Young as "one of rock and roll's greatest songwriters and performers". He was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997. From the beginning of his solo career in the late '60s through to the 21st century, he never stopped writing, recording, and performing; his official catalog only represented a portion of his work, since he kept countless tapes of unreleased songs in his vaults. This release includes live performances of Neil Young at the Canadian National Exhibition Grandstand, Toronto, August 18, 1988; Santa Cruz, November 2, 1987; The World, Nyc, April 19, 1988; Jones Beach, August 27, 1988; Auburn Hills, September 4, 1988.
Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Another tracks of Kind of Blue give listeners the unprecedented opportunity to enter the 30th Street studio and witness the creation of this remarkable album. Speed-corrected.