Interesting. In my very limited jazz experience, I don't see it that way. I don't know anything else near as good as KOB. What else do you like better?
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Miles is one of the most important musicians of our time. He has performed tirelessly for more than 50 years, forging new directions in the jazz community.
He has received 9 Grammy awards, with 79 of his releases holding top 50 chart positions. When Kind of Blue was released it became one of the cornerstones of Jazz and a requirement for every important jazz collection.
I have thirty one of his albums and two Mosaic Box sets, and this is a tiny fraction of his work. Having said that, "Kind of Blue" is one of my favorites, and one I would never part with.
Realize this piece of music was released in 1959, and here we are at Audiogon, still discussing the creativity, style and recording quality 43 years later.
How many of today's artists do you think will stand up to a half century of listeners changing tastes? Yes, it is a very important piece of music.
Interestingly, Miles was disappointed with Kind of Blue. In his autobiography he writes on page 235: "When I tell people that I missed what I was trying to do on Kind of Blue, that I missed getting the exact sound of the African finger piano up in that sound, they just look at me like I'm crazy. Everyone said that record was a masterpiece -- and I loved it too -- and so they just feel I'm trying to put them on. But that's what I was trying to do on most of that album, particularly on "All Blues" and "So What." I just missed."
Kind of Blue has received so much adulation and airplay that other equally deserving albums might seem neglected by comparison. IMHO, these would include:
Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines, 1928 (Smithsonian)
The Billy Holiday Story, Vol. II (Columbia, 1935-41)
Duke Ellington - 1940 (Smithsonian)
Solo Flight: The Genius of Charlie Christian
The Very Best of Bird (The "Dial Sessions")
Bird/The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes)
Dizzy Gillespie: In the Beginning
Thelonious Monk: The Complete Genius
The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. I
Clifford Brown: The Quintet
Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus and More
Miles Davis/Gil Evans - Porgy and Bess
Wes Montgomery: While We're Young
John Coltrane: Giant Steps
The Best of John Coltrane: His Greatest Years
Bill Evans: The Village Vanguard Sessions
Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth
Mr. W's list is impressive and I am familiar with all that great jazz. Now, my list would be equally long, and maybe have just a few of his selections. What does that mean? There's a lot of good s... out there. But if I did that, I wouldn't be sticking to your original post. Yes you are missing the boat with KOB. Stick with it. It's quite amazing. Come back to it at a later time, and you may, after listening to other things, come to appreciate it. good listening, warren
To me, this is one of those recordings that I never get tired of; I've owned several pressings and the Classic records pressing is the best. Every time I hear it it's still magical, romantic, involving, hypnotic and draws you into a mood world. I never tire of it. When I first bought it in college 20 something years ago I enjoyed it but probably didn't grasp or understand everything going on. Not sure I do yet..
Perhaps the king has no clothes?
I love Jazz, it has been my main music diet for 30+ years. That said, I do like "Kind Of Blue", but enjoy many others more.
While we are on the subject, will Acoustic Sounds ever get tired of re-releasing the same 20 or so titles in every new format and 180g 33 1/3 rpm..now 45 rpm? This is the "Kind Of Blue" thinking that keeps many other great Jazz performances either unavailable or obscure.
Odd that until recently all copies of the lp, cd, etc.of "Kind Of Blue" were from a master tape that was running fast..ie: sharp.
Happy Holidays, Jim
Cannonball Adderley's "Something Else" CD/LP was recorded around the same time with almost the same band and I prefer that recording to KOB. Also Miles' "Milestones" is better to my ears. Neither of those two has been remastered 99 times like KOB... I think KOB is slightly overrated...as is Bitches Brew. I just got the 20 CD Montreaux box set...so far it is a disappointment sound quality wise after 2 CDs, but there's 18 to go.
Addenda to prev. post... the first and second CD on the Montreaux Live boxset was not great sound, but it was a 1973 recording...so in retro...sounds decent. The remaining 18 sound very good for live recordings of electronic jazz.
Did anyone hear that some King of Blue remasters were done at the wrong speed?
I'm a jazz enthusiast, not an expert. But I do have 33 of Miles Davis' CD's, and about 300 overall jazz titles, so I have some familiarity. IMHO "Kind of Blue" may be overhyped, but not overrated. It's as great an album, today, as it was in 1959. But if it doesn't sound as "breakthrough" today as the hype might lead you to believe, it's because it pulled jazz in it's direction- it's important because it changed the genre.
Aside from the fact that it's just great music, one of the things that's unique about KOB is that jazz musicians of the day were just as taken with it as the average jazz music lover. They tried to emulate it and capture that special quality that we still hear today.
Whether Miles achieved his personal objectives is an interesting point (raised above) but irrelevant to the importance of the music. When the music became part of the public domain it also became bigger than him and concurrently became a lot of different things to a lot of different people, both in and out of the world of music. No different than the Beatles in the 60's, Elvis in the 50's or Sinatra in the 40's. Beatles music today sounds so familar and comfortable that you might ask "What was all the fuss about?" It's easy to forget that the reason it's sounds so mainstream is that it redefined all the popular music that followed. Only when viewed in the context of 1964 can it's impact be understood.
But like anything in life, we all see things differently. My fellow audiophile friend sold his copy of Kind of Blue- he just didn't get it at all. I on the other hand, still consider it my favorite jazz disc that gets better with each playing. Because the more I listen to other jazz CD's, many of which I consider to be excellent, the more I hear the influence of "Kind of Blue."
I don't think KOB is overhyped if considered in the context of when it was released and what it meant to the evolution of jazz. Nor do I think it is overrated - it is a great and, and in places, a very complex compilation.
Yes, there are other jazz LP's, even other Miles LP's, that I might thorw on the platter first. That doesn't make it less important or less enjoyable in its own right.