63 years ago, Miles Davis and his comrades John Coltrane, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb entered a recording studio and spent around 72 hours [a weekend] making the greatest jazz album ever.
On this day (August 17, 1959), Miles Davis released “Kind of Blue,” widely considered the greatest jazz album of all time.
Despite the album being deemed as one of the greatest albums of all time by many critics, ironically, Miles Davis referred to it as a “failed experiment.”
One of the best things about Kind of Blue is that it ended with no sequel, which is both a blessing and a curse. They split up not long after the recording date.
Evans started his own piano trio, Adderley returned to playing bop with a gospel influence, and Coltrane [after recording Giant Steps] went his own way in terms of personal liberation. Davis, too, retreated to earlier forms for the next few years before forming his next great band in the mid-’60s with younger musicians who pushed him on to more experimental improvisation.
Maybe that’s why Miles says it’s a “failed experiment.”
Kind of Blue remains a classic jazz album 63 years later. Thank you, Uncle Miles, you were always miles ahead.
My favourite song: Flamenco Sketches and recently Blue in Green.