Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Jun 4, 2020
Jazz. To me, this has always been one of the most difficult genres to get into. It has always been that one genre I hear in public and in soundtracks and it has always sounded so samey that I never thought I'd actually be able to truly appreciate it. But for the past few months I have been trying to get into the genre as best I can. I've been listening to some of the most acclaimed albums in the genre, constantly returning to them in order to try and understand and enjoy the genre a bit more. I was holding off on actually reviewing any of the albums I would listen to within this genre because, well, I don't actually know anything about the genre. It would be unfair for me to tackle an album in a genre that I don't understand in the slightest and try to give it a proper, decent review when I have literally nothing to base my opinion off of outside of the generic background music you hear out in public and in movies and shows. And even now, I still don't think I'm that ready to tackle an album of this genre, but I have listened to quite a few of the more important and most beloved records and have found myself enjoying them more and more with each listen, and with everything going on in the world right now, what better time is there than now to take on such a genre? And what better album to start off with than the most famous jazz album of all time, and the one that is often called the gateway into the genre: Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue?

Like I'm sure is the same with many others, this was the first jazz album I ever heard. A few months ago when I decided to give it the genre shot, Kind Of Blue was the first album that I knew I had to listen to. Going into it really intrigued to see what it is about this album is so special, and hearing the first few seconds of So What, I was definitely excited to get into something that would be completely new to me. But that first listen ended up being one of my least fruitful listens of any album in this genre. That first listen left me wanting a hell of a lot more. I still remember being about half-way through So What and thinking to myself "So the most popular jazz album is just another jazz album, huh?" and "So What is right." Everything about this record was just so generic, so predictable. Every single thing I thought jazz was applied to this album. I was honestly quite baffled, trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is one of the most beloved albums of all time. If my first listen of this album proved to me anything, it's that jazz just wasn't for me.

But I still didn't want to give up. Jazz is one of the most important genres in all of music, after all. Even if I don't like the genre, I should at least try and educate myself in some of the more important records, right?

So, alongside listening to some other popular records, I gave it another shot. And another. Then a few more.

Eventually, even after listening to quite a few more records in the genre - a few of which I'd even say are actually better in many ways - Kind Of Blue ultimately became my most listened album in the genre. Even though I much prefer the more experimental and risk-taking albums that I've heard, and even Miles Davis himself has other albums that I enjoyed a lot more, there was something about Kind Of Blue that always had me coming back. There's something about this cool simplicity that has me so intrigued and wanting to hear it more and more. At this point, I must have listened to this album upward of ten times, and still I can't get enough of it.

So ultimately, what is it that makes Kind Of Blue such an amazing album? I'm sure that, to most people, much like me, this album is the definition of "jazz". It's damn impossible to separate an album like Kind Of Blue from pretty much any other jazz album that came after it. It's too damn clichéd. Granted, it may have set up those clichés, but it's generic nonetheless. So what made me fall in love with Kind Of Blue? Well, while the sound itself may be predictable and generic on the surface, it's those following listens that are going to grab you in. It's all well and good listening to this album one or two times and saying "It jazz. Jazz bad. Jazz boring." But if you actually give it the time it deserves, you're going to find a lot more to love about it. This isn't just another album that you can listen to a small handful of times and expect to get every single thing it has to offer. You can write off Kind Of Blue as "background music" if you want, but it's more than that. Hell, I would say that Kind Of Blue in general can work as background music, but it also works just as well as something that you put all of your focus into. The thing that ultimately made me fall in love with this album is just how carefully constructed it is. You can hear that every single note, no matter how inessential it may feel to the album as a whole, was deliberate. There's a reason for every single tiny detail to be in this album. If my numerous listens to Kind Of Blue proved me anything, it's that Miles Davis truly was a genius when it came to his craft. He wrote the album in a way that each member has their importance, and each and every note is incredibly important to the overall feel of the album, no matter how insignificant they may seem.

Kind Of Blue is a melancholic, relaxing album. It's just as good to chill out to as it is to delve deep into and dissect every tiny detail. There's so many reasons to love this album, whether it's to appreciate the musicianship and intricacies, or just because it's the template of how to make an extraordinarily good jazz album, but one thing's for sure: it's a masterpiece. It may not be my personal favourite jazz album, and I'm sure Davis has more masterpieces that I'm yet to find to go along with the other albums of his that I personally like more than this, but this is still an amazing album in its own right, completely deserving of its recognition as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.

Also, yes, I am going to be binging through his entire discography, because why the hell not?

Favourite Tracks: So What; Flamenco Sketches; Blue In Green; Freddie Freeloader; All Blues

Least Favourite Track: N/A

Track Ratings
1So What / 100
2Freddie Freeloader / 95
3Blue In Green / 95
4All Blues / 95
5Flamenco Sketches / 100
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