Kind of Blue

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Kind of Blue is a 1959 (see 1959 in music) album by jazz musician Miles Davis.

Following Somethin' Else, Kind of Blue is the second album that resulted from the collaboration between Miles Davis and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. The album was recorded in two days: March 2 and April 22, 1959.

As was Davis's practice, he called his bandmembers to the recording studio on short notice. The musicians had no idea what they were to record; Davis himself had only a few chords, scales and melody ideas in mind for each song. Once the musicians were assembled, Davis gave brief instructions for each piece, then set to recording.

Excepting "Flamenco Sketches," which required a second take, the sextet recorded all the songs to Davis's satisfaction with only one take each.

(Davis would later use similar recording practices; he thought that giving musicians little notice, little or no rehearsal, and only vague instructions forced them to pay very close attention to their own performances and to the other musicians. See Bitches Brew for information on another epochal Davis record.)

Kind of Blue is notable for its use of modes. While certainly not the first jazz musician to use modes, the album was recorded and released in an era when the jazz world seemed to be aching for change: big bands had lost most of their audience, and there seemed to be nothing new to say with bebop. It's worth noting that Kind of Blue was recorded the same year—almost to the same month—as Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come, a revolutionary album that stretched jazz beyond bebop.

Kind of Blue was a startling change for its era, and was almost instantly recognized, both critically and commercially. Though precise figures have been disputed, Kind of Blue has been cited as Davis's best-selling album, and as the best-selling jazz record of all time.



Kind of Blue is not only regarded as one of Davis's masterworks, but one of the most influential albums in the history of jazz. One reviewer has called it "a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence." [1] (

Ashley Kahn said in his book, Kind of Blue: The Making of a Miles Davis Masterpiece, “Still acknowledged as the height of hip four decades after it was recorded, Kind of Blue is the premier album of its era, jazz or otherwise. Its vapory piano introduction is universally recognized” (Kahn 16). Quincy Jones, one of Davis' longtime friends, wrote, “That [Kind of Blue] will always be my music, man. I play Kind of Blue every day – it’s my orange juice. It still sounds like it was made yesterday” (Kahn 19). Chick Corea, one of Miles’ acolytes, was also struck by its majesty. He said, “It’s one thing to just play a tune, or play a program of music, but it’s another thing to practically create a new language of music, which is what Kind of Blue did” (Kahn 19).

One significant aspect of Kind of Blue is that the entire record, not just one song, was revolutionary. Gary Burton noted this occurrence. "It wasn’t just one tune that was a breakthrough, it was the whole record. When new jazz styles come along, the first few attempts to do it are usually kind of shaky. Early Charlie Parker records were like this. But with Kind of Blue [the sextet] all sound like they’re fully into it" (Kahn 179).

Along with perhaps Dave Brubeck's Time Out, Kind of Blue is often recommended as an introductory jazz album, for similar reasons as the Brubeck record: The music is very melodic, and the relaxed "open" quality of the songs makes the improvisation easy for listeners to follow, without sacrificing one iota of brilliance or creativity.

In 1997 Kind of Blue was named the 13th greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 66. VH1's Ashley Kahn has devoted an entire book to the record: Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (ISBN 0306810670).

Track listing

  1. "So What" (Davis) - 9:25
  2. "Freddie Freeloader" (Davis) - 9:49
  3. "Blue in Green" (Davis) - 5:37
  4. "All Blues" (Davis) - 11:35
  5. "Flamenco Sketches" (Davis) - 9:25
  6. "Flamenco Sketches [alternate take]" (Davis) - 9:32 (included in some re-issues)


  • Michael Cuscuna - Reissue Producer
  • Kevin Gore - Reissue Series
  • Larry Keyes - Producer
  • Teo Macero - Producer
  • Fred Plaut - Engineer
  • Irving Townsend - Original Recording Producer
  • Mark Wilder - Engineer, Remixing
  • Don Hunstein - Photography
  • Seth Rothstein - Project Director
  • Jay Maisel - Photography, Cover Photo
  • Rene Arsenault - Production Assistant, Assistant Producer

Chart positions

Billboard Music Charts (North America) - album

1977      Jazz Albums	             No. 37
1987	  Top Jazz Albums	        No. 10
2001	  Top Internet Albums	        No. 14


See also

de:Kind of Blue nl:Kind of Blue fi:Kind of Blue


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