17 August 2013

17th August - Miles Davis' Kind of Blue

Artist - Album: Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Released: 17th August 1959
Sounds Like: Birth of the cool

Like Christmas or a birthday, a day like today comes but once a year and promises excitement, good will and cheer to all men. Yes, today is the first day of the Barclays Premier League season.  It should be a corker.

It'd have to go some way to beat the opening day of the 1959-60 season though. Amongst other high scoring games, there was the 4-4 draw between Chelsea and Preston North End, a 4-0 romp for Blackburn Rovers against Fulham, a 3-0 shellacking of Leicester City by West Ham United and 3-2 victories all round for Blackpool, West Bromwich Albion (against Manchester United that one) and Burnley (the eventual champions. Burnley!). Imagine that lot on Match of the Day. At the end of the first round of fixtures Tottenham Hotspur would top the table though, after a comprehensive battering of Newcastle 5-1. That victory would serve as an indicator of the landmark that was to come: the following season they became the first team of the 20th century to win the Fa Cup and League double.

Another landmark of that rich era came courtesy of Miles Davis, who, with the release of Kind of Blue, submitted his entry into the pantheon of the greateat and most influential albums of all time.  Aided by one of the most impressive bands ever assembled - John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Jimmy Cobb and Paul Chambers - the sextet jammed over a set of five modal sketches, each becoming a study in scale based improvisation and elegant, sophisticated cool.

Without in any way being knowledgeable or especially enthusiastic about jazz, this, along with Davis' own Birth of the Cool and Coltrane's A Love Supreme, is easily the beat jazz album I've ever come across.  What separates Kind of Blue from the rest is that it's actually one of the best albums I've heard of any genre.

Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1. So What - 9:22
2. Freddie Freeloader - 9:46
3. Blue in Green - 5:37
4. All Blues - 11.33
5. Flamenco Sketches - 9:26

Listen to 'All Blues': www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIfdYs8WErM
Also released on the 17th August: 
2007: Seabear - The Ghost That Carried Us Away
Also released on the 17th August:
2009: The XX - The XX

Also released on the 17th August:
2009: Mum - Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know

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