First and foremost, let me just expound on the wonders of DualDisc technology. What they do is put an album on one side of the disc and on the other you have a DVD, usually containing music videos and other neat stuff, all off which can play in your CD or DVD player. A multitude of multimedia options, all packaged into one shiny round disc!
One of the first albums that Columbia has decided to give the DualDisc makeover is Miles Davis’s landmark jazz album Kind of Blue. From the virtuosity of Davis himself to the soothing tenor saxophone of John Coltrane, everything has been restored to a crisp, clean sound. This is the definitive version of the album and combined with the insight offered by the DVD material it is a must-have for any fan of great music.
Joining Coltrane and Davis on Kind of Blue are five now-legendary musicians in the prime of their careers: alto saxophonist Julian Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Together they formed a sort of super-group, all following the lead of Davis and his unique style.
The music here is undeniably catchy, from the opening of the first track “So What,” Davis will have your feet tapping. The track has become a standard of modern jazz music, with its sublime improvisation over the re-occurring melody of the trumpet. The songs are on average over nine minutes, but they never feel long, they all seem to progress and move until they have nowhere left to go.
Most of the material here was recorded in one take, with only minimal direction from Davis and his songwriting. The free feel of the recording is evident on “Freddie Freeloader,” which soars with Wynton Kelly’s swinging piano. Each song contains at least one or two unforgettable solos, pieces of music that stay in your head for days.
The new recording features an alternate take on “Flamenco Sketches,” recorded during the original sessions. Each song began with a basic melody and frame but was then let to expand in the minds of the musicians. The alternate version goes in another, equally magnificent, direction than the original and demonstrates the genius of Davis and his band mates. It seems as if they could play forever without every faltering.
Kind of Blue continues to sell thousands of records years after its release and is a testament to the power of creativity. Though few recognize the significance of Davis and his jazz techniques in modern music or the continued jazz movement, it is consoling to know that almost anyone can appreciate the beauty of this music. It is among the few records that can open your mind to a whole new style of song.
This album will make you love jazz.