Posted : 1 week, 3 days ago on 13 April 2014 08:22
I chose to review Kind of Blue
this week based solely on how many times I hear it called "overrated". Most of these comments come from white people that don't even like Jazz, yet hold this album on the pedestal to pretend they understand it and use as a social badge to brag to their friends: "Hey man, I got that one Jazz album everyone goes nuts about...". If you're offended by this, you prove me right - now fuck off.
If you're going to call this album "the Jazz album for people that don't like Jazz" that's not very accurate. Jazz Fusion is for people that don't like Jazz (AKA white people). Everyone that actually can comprehend Jazz loves Kind of Blue
, and the only people that ever bitch and moan about the album tend to be dumbass white people that want to remind you "it's not that good" yet they can't name another Miles album that is supposedly better than Kind of Blue
(unless it's some garbage like Bitches Brew
). You don't see those hardcore Jazz purists (and even I admit they are fucking annoying) constantly putting Bitches Brew
up on the tables of "Graytest albom evar", and that album is one you really can rip for being overrated, cause Bitches Brew
is garbage, where Kind of Blue
is a classic.
Is this Miles Davis' best album? I'll leave that to you to decide. Personally, I'm going to say yes, and I've went through the majority of his discography to know the great (late 50's to mid 60's), the bad (late 60's to early 70's), and the down right fucking ugly (Everything from the 80's). Miles has a huge, long discography full of amazing albums, and in that discography houses some of the greatest albums ever made. I prefer the Quintet albums over everything, and Kind of Blue
is that one album that is thrown in the middle of the two "Great Quintet" periods. It was really just the first Quintet lineup turned into a Sextet; with Bill Evans on piano instead of Garland, Jimmy Cobb in place of Philly Joe for the drums, and then the addition of Cannonball Adderley on Alto Sax. In all fairness, it's the same blueprint of the Quintet that made the Coookin'/Workin'/Relaxin'/Steamin'
albums, and was the closer before Miles shuffled a new deck of younger musicians for the next decade rolling through (The Second Great Quintet).
This entire album is full of Jazz standards. They've been covered to death. Long before Rolling Stone magazine and whatever other music journalist hacks out there told the people to accept Jazz Fusion as the best thing since sliced bread, Kind of Blue
really did set the bar for copycats. Everyone in the genre wanted to sound like this album - Grant Green copied it for his Sunday Mornin'
LP (and failed miserably), the Jazz Crusaders (what a joke) covered the album in the mid 60's, the song Blue In Green has been copied so many times over it's not even funny anymore.
Kind of Blue
was the blueprint of the Modal age of Jazz. Every big Modal album ripped it off one way or another. There has even been a handful of possible successors to Kind of Blue
and this argument falls short too. Herbie Hancock's Empyrean Isles
is probably the closest thing you'll ever get to a sequel for Kind of Blue
, as just about every other influenced spawned album falls far off the bar in comparison.
The album opens the door with So What. Right away, you know what you're in store for. This isn't those Quintet albums where Miles played standards and short set lists. No, this is a full composition album and features long drawn out songs for the better. Coltrane and Cannonball are at their best. For once, Coltrane isn't playing super long solos (that's not a bad thing, but you can't do that on everything). So What has been copied to death, just the main riff has become a cliche among all Jazz music.
Freddie Freeloader is a Blues based jam. Wynton Kelly plays piano on here (If you don't know who Wynton Kelly is, stop pretending that you like Jazz) and he adds quite the fever that is necessary for the Blues boogie like jam. Coltrane does some of that signature soloing that we love him for, and this is where the album really exceeds the limit between Davis and Coltrane's back and forth leads. It's one of Miles' most well known songs and rightfully so.
Blue In Green is my personal favorite from the album. Written by Bill Evans, this soft ballad really gives you the feeling of being left alone out in a diner at 2 AM, or some other mood that sets the blues in very well. Davis puts up a great performance here with his horn playing the main vocals of the song, and Trane and Cannonball show up later, but the main beef of this song is Bill Evans' piano work. If he did anything for his short 15 minutes of fame before going back into the dust of obscurity, it is this song. He's made his name from this tune for over a half century and rightfully so.
All Blues is a special song that cannot be fucked up - whatsoever. I take offense when I see shitty Jazz musicians (Yes I'm talking about you Jazz Crusaders, even Miles thought your cover version was shit), even in the late night clubs fucking this song up. This song is all about a melody - the sax's go back and forth bouncing the rhythm, and Davis blows his horn all over the lead. I haven't talked much about Paul Chambers on Bass cause his work here is instrumental to the success - his rhythms create the flow. Davis rendered this song many times during the Second Great Quintet's heyday and there's many amazing live versions of it that feature Wayne Shorter and George Coleman on Sax, but probably the best version ever is the 15 minute epic that can be found on the extremely rare Miles Davis & John Coltrane In Stockholm 1960
Flamenco Sketches is another ballad track, that especially highlights more vocal use of the trumpet from Davis. What a way to end an already golden LP of the ages. This song is just as good as the others, yet tends to be forgotten in time as it was rarely ever played live. All the sax soloing on here is down right beautiful. Miles' ballads in his prime were the best in the business. He was known greatly for the moody and sweet ballad like tracks from here, but of course most people that talk about this record don't recognize that cause they are just pretending they like Jazz to begin with.
There should be no debate whatsoever if this album is "overrated". It really is considered the holy bible of Jazz because it is that; the masterpiece, holy grail, whatever you want to call it. Before white people even recognized Jazz as an actual genre, this album was already put on the pedestal a long time ago all the way back to it's release in 1959. The whole love affair with Kind of Blue
didn't just begin when some jackass music critics demanded that it be called one of the best albums ever - it really is that. And you're crazy if you're going to debate otherwise, since the proof is there that everyone in the early 1960's was copying Kind of Blue
- go check out some other Jazz records and you will see there is no argument there.
You know something is innovative for a fact, when it changes the pace of a genre and everyone begins to copy it one way or another. That's why people recognize The Beatles over all their clones and give Jimi Hendrix the credit when every guitar player on the face of the earth was ripping him off after 1967 (and people think Led Zeppelin came up with all that on their own). Kind of Blue
changed the pace of Jazz forever, and was the first stepping stone to the Modal phase where long compositions began to dominate the genre forever and took the place of the shorter songs that did not rely on much soloing efforts from a full band.
If you want to talk overrated albums, or Jazz albums for white people, go find Bitches Brew
. Now that album really is for people that don't like Jazz since it's more Rock oriented. Miles didn't create the Jazz Fusion movement, no matter what those jackasses at Rolling Stone magazine tell you about how "great" it all is (They didn't even like Fusion themselves until Miles put his name on it). He only hopped on the bandwagon once he realized that in order to sell records again and get white people to like him, he had to adapt a Psychedelic/Acid Rock influenced sound that dumbed his music down to the lowest common denominator cause wah wah = cool. Miles isn't the only one that sold out to the Acid Rock craze, Wayne Shorter did it too with those shitty Weather Report albums. Herbie Hancock remains the only one of the old Jazz legends era, who put out a decent Fusion album
If you're going to bitch about this album and call it "overrated" the least you could do is list some of those better
Miles albums. White people love reminding me that this album isn't his best, yet I never see them ever mention what they think is better than Kind of Blue
. Only a few times where I get reminded the greatness of Bitches Brew
but if it's not that, then what is it then? E.S.P.
? Seven Steps To Heaven
?, Miles Smiles
? The Cookin'/Workin'/Relaxin'/Steamin'
?. Do you even recognize any of those albums I've mentioned? They are some of his most underrated
albums (and some of his very best work) since no one ever listens to his other stuff that big music editors don't like. Hell, I liked Someday My Prince Will Come
and the morons over at Rolling Stone magazine whine about that one, yet I thought it was pretty good.
If you learn anything about my rant reviews, it's that you should never listen to corporate music journalists. Fuck Rolling Stone magazine; fuck the Rolling Stone Magazine Album Guide (and stop making lists promoting their bullshit on that stupid guide), fuck AllMusic, fuck Pitchfork Media, fuck Blender (if you even consider their reviews worthwhile), fuck them all. None of them have the balls to admit their opinions and if they really like or hate albums since their opinions are bought and paid for, but I don't get paid for this, so I have nothing to lose (or gain) from someone liking my reviews or sending me whiny emails about them. A lot of people don't even read my reviews and that's fine too cause I am not out to please the world.
If you don't own even a CD copy of Kind of Blue
you're missing out. I'm sure someone else has already told you that, but I'm telling you too, it's worth checking out. And don't bother with it if you really do not like Jazz. Don't pretend to like Jazz, if you want to do that, go for Fusion albums. This isn't going to waste your time with over indulgent crap like that, so you've been warned. Your ears will be rocked and you'll be thinking about the solos on this album for days if you do listen to it once.
Overrated or Underrated?:
What The Rating Should Be:
10 out of 10
Is This Album Worth The Money?:
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