At 2:30 on March 2, 1959, the 32-year-old trumpet player and bandleader Miles Davis took six sidemen [Julian “Cannonball” Adderley – alto saxophone, John Coltrane – tenor saxophone, Bill Evans – piano, Wynton Kelly – double bass, Paul Chambers – double bass, and Jimmy Cobb – drums] into a New York City studio, where they spent the afternoon and early evening recording three songs.
On April 22, the same cohort, minus one of the two piano players who worked on the first date, returned to the same studio and recorded two more songs.
As far as the musicians were concerned, that was the end of the story.
For the rest of the world, it was just beginning.
Four months later, the five selections were released on the album “Kind of Blue.”
The record became an immediate success, embraced by jazz fans, critics and musicians.
Two songs on the album, “So What” and “All Blues,” quickly became staples in the jazz repertoire.
“So What” even became a favorite of college and high-school marching bands. Meanwhile, the record kept selling, and selling and selling.
Today, 50 years after it was released, “Kind of Blue” remains the bestselling jazz album of all time.
More than 4 million copies have been sold, and the album still sells an average of 5,000 copies a week.
If you have a jazz album on your shelf, odds are it’s “Kind of Blue.”
He recorded a hit album in two days, recorded the three songs on March 2 and the other two songs on April 22.
He recorded one of the greatest jazz albums in 48 hours. It’s certainly of the best selling albums.
Bill Evans wrote in the LP liner notes, “Miles conceived these settings only hours before the recording dates.
It is easy to look at that and say I want my art, my work to be as good as Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue.
It is until we learn that Miles Davis made more than 40 record albums in his career.
More than 40.
And very few of those album compare to Kind of Blue.
The thing is Miles, put in lots of hours recording lots of albums before Kind of Blue.
He didn’t wait for years for inspiration to hit him on the forehead before recording the bestselling album.
He recorded lots of albums, more not known, until he got to Kind of Blue.
He showed up.
He did the work.
Even when it was not inspiring to lots of people.
He showed up, recorded an album, and another one, and another one, until he recorded Kind of Blue.
He didn’t wait for the right inspiration.
He didn’t suffer writer’s block.
He showed up and did the work.
Don’t wait for inspiration to hit you before you do your creative work.
To be creative, you have to show up, everyday, do the work, everyday, even when you don’t feel like it.
Show up, do the work, inspiration will find you on the way.