Bought 'Kind Of Blue'

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by yawnsie, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Yep, I was in the record shop the other day pouring over racks and racks of obscure albums, when I spotted Miles Davis blowing seductively into his trumpet. So I handed over my money and allowed myself to feel slightly superior to the girl asking for the latest Robbie Williams album next to me. ;)

    Well... I've got to say it's growing on me. That's not to say I wasn't into it at first, but I think that it's the sort of thing that needs a few listens to really settle in. Miles and John Coltrane's solos are terrific without being flashy or particularly complicated, and the rest of the group are a great backbone. It's hard to believe that those were the first takes of tunes they'd never seen before until the session.

    I don't really know what the point of this thread was, but I thought I'd share my first serious flirtation with jazz with you all. I don't pretend I understand it fully yet, but I'm enjoying getting to know it.
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    There's a couple books out there about the recording of this is by Ashely Kahn, the other by Eric Neisensen(who also wrote Round About Midnight, a Miles' bio).

    I have the Kahn book; what blew me away was what/how the band was paid for this gig.
    Coltrane, Canonball, Kelley, & Evans were paid the grand total of $64.67 each.
    Chambers & Cobb were paid $66.67 each(more equipment to tote?).

    Can you believe that!

    Interesting too(& a bummer)...the album was supposed to be 'first complete takes' only.
    You know how some albums get re-issued with BONUS material galore? This won't be the case with Kind Of Blue.

    There's also something about the cover artwork; when I first bought this record, Miles is playing his horn "left-handed"(reverse image)...& it wasn't the original photo, either.
    Eventually, Columbia put the original photo back on the album.

    FWIW, I have bought KOB 4 times(LP, cd, remastered cd, & the box set of Columbia's Miles & Coltrane Years).

    If you're yearning to hear Miles & 'Trane in a different mode(pun intended)...check out Milestones.
  3. i bought it a few years ago on tape in the bargain bin - i guess nobody buys tapes anymore. but i've got a cassette deck in the car, so that's where i listen to my copy, it's way cool. i crank it up at night when other cars are blasting rap.

    too bad the mix wasn't a little better - you can hardly hear the bass, and when miles comes in it's ear-splitting. i guess that's part o' the vintage charm.
  4. I wonder if they fixed that on the remastered CD version, which I own. The levels seem decent and you can hear the bass pretty good, although the bass level is always too low no matter what recording it is.;) I've also noticed, when listening to music while driving, that the hum of the engine will cancel some of the bass frequencies, which can be annoying. Maybe I just drive a noisy car.:p
  5. sbasssman

    sbasssman Guest

    Jan 1, 2002
    I'm glad you guys said something about the mix.
    I bought a reissue last year, and while I bow
    to the great playing, the mix really wasn't for me. Not enough warmth, and the horn just ripped my head off if I had it pumped up enough to hear the bass well. I'd love to see a warmer mix.
  6. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    Don't hassle the mix! That album is mixed for come home from the club late-night lovemaking sessions! You have a little bit of "warm-up" time before the mix hits its full volume...which you and your lady friend will enjoy all the more. It doesn't get any cooler than that!
  7. well, if your lady friend is into miles davis, that would be pretty cool and i envy you.

    but the overall volume has nothing to do with it, i was talking about the volume of the instruments relative to each other.
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Another great album to check out is Cannonball Adderly's "Somethin' Else".
  9. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Despite the shortcomings with recording and such, I found KoB to be a timeless jazz album.
  10. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    For what it's worth, I have a copy that has an alternate take of Flamenco Sketches, right after the original.
  11. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, hasn't it supposed to have sold more copies than any other Jazz album?
  13. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    I believe so. I think it went 3x platinum or something.
  14. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Yeah, I thought that too, especially about Mile's trumpet.

    It's mad to hear what Jim says about how little the players were paid for the session, and how little time was actually spent making the album - when you think a rock album that had a similar sort of influence and resonance (for example, Sgt.Pepper) would typically take months to make and cost thousands, it makes Kind Of Blue seem almost effortless in comparision.
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Hey Yawnsie-
    The Beatles may have spent "months" on Peppers(did they spend really months?)...they could be pretty economical, too. Please Please Me(debut album) was recorded PDQ. Eventually, they did get into the production thing & the "use the studio as an instrument" ideal....who didn't? Technology was booming, blah.

    Personally, I like the play it LIVE in one take(or two) & move on. ;)
    (FWIW, I did go through the opposite camp for awhile...punch in, rehearse the tune ad nauseum, etc).

    For you Miles-aholics...
    I got an e-mail today from
    They are a happenin' & decent company that specializes in rare box sets(I copped Complete Blue Note box sets by both Sam Rivers & Andrew Hill from Mosaic).
    Anyway, a TWENTY(20) cd set of Miles COMPLETE Live '71-'93 Montreux stuff is available. It's mostly his electric band of Dave Liebman, Scofield, Garrett, & Al Foster.
    I'm afraid I'm gonna have to pass on this...I am waiting for the Complete Jack Johnson Sessions due out on Columbia this Fall.
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Not sure I have this right-
    Somewhere I heard/read it still sells roughly 50,000 copies a year.

    ...and maybe I read it in Kahn's book-
    If a non-Jazz lover owned only ONE Jazz record, it was "usually" KOB.
  17. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    You're right... I suppose the point I was trying to make was that I always expected defining albums to be things that take a lot of time and effort to bring together, so it's strange to think of KoB being made up pretty much on the spot.
  18. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I dunno. That's the way those guys operated.
    I would think Miles' Sketches Of Spain & Porgy & Bess(both Classics in their own right) would fall into the "rehearsed" side of the fence.
    The late period recordings with Marcus Miller are almost total production(Tutu, Siesta, etc).

    Another Miles' project for a French movie/soundtrack called Ascenseur Pour l'Echafaud("Escalator To The Scaffold" to me) ;)
    was total improv(IIRC).
    Miles handed out "sketches"(not scores) to the other musicians & they watched the film & created as they went. I still need to buy this album...
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Originally posted by yawnsie it's strange to think of KoB being made up pretty much on the spot.

    That's right - also several of the tracks aren't "tunes" as such, just a grouping of modes! All of them are very simple harmonically and the basis can be scribbled on the back of an envelope.

    If you start learning to play Jazz - a lot of these tunes end up in the "beginner's" classes as they are so simple.

    Of course a lot of people think Miles' real talent was in choosing sidemen and so it was what that band made of such simple material that was so great and it is precisely the simplicity of the music that makes it so popular with non-Jazz fans.
  20. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Does it get any easier than the form to "Freddie The Freeloader"?

    "So What"...2 changes.
    "All Blues"...pretty simple form, too.
    "Flamenco Sketches"...that grouping of modes you mentioned.

    Definitely a different direction than blowing over the 2 chords per bar in Bebop 'standards'.

    On a tangent-
    The Screaming Headless Torsos do a nice job of re-inventing "Blue In Green"(sorta in a Reggae-Funk). ;)