Thanks for your thoughts Ste. What I had in mind for this time at least was a structure to work through, and fill in any gaps in the classics…so I’m personally ok with it being 50s-70s heavy I think?
I got one of those Zavvi vinyl starter packs a while ago and it had some of the albums on the list on that I hadn’t heard before, but are on the list here. It was great to be introduced to the likes of Gilberto Gil and Eric Dolphy in that kind of fashion. I also don’t have the time or knowledge to be able to put together or host a list of more recent albums unfortunately. I’ll see how we get on - we can revisit if it starts feeling like a slog.
Let’s begin! Welcome to the first Jazz Club week and it’s an all timer to get things started.
I’ll get some polls up later in the week after time to listen and discuss.
Week 1: Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Kind of Blue (1959) is the top jazz album on most ‘best-of’ lists and is cited as jazz’s biggest-seller.
The Miles Davis classic has reached the kind of mainstream popularity that sees it included in the record collections of non-jazz fans as their token jazz record.
But its legendary status is very much warranted: Kind of Blue is surely some of the greatest, most atmospheric and influential music every recorded.
‘So What’ – the album’s most famous track – continues the experiments with modal music that Davis had had begun on Milestones, with Jimmy Cobb’s famous cymbal fill setting up the bandleader’s cool, spacious solo.
Pianist Bill Evans provides an introspective, impressionistic touch to the gorgeous ballad ‘ Blue In Green ‘, whilst John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley contribute some contrasting fire on tenor and alto saxophones respectively.
Another highlight is Wynton Kelly’s hard-swinging solo on ‘Freddie Freeloader’: Kelly replaced Evans on the piano chair in Davis’ working band, and is heard on just one track here.
Davis was a relentless innovator who refused to stand still: his music would change drastically over the following years, taking in freer forms and jazz fusion, but Kind of Blue, for many, remains his definitive artistic statement and certainly a great starting point when it comes to jazz for beginners.
Think this is probably the first jazz album I ever heard, or at least I don’t remember jazz at home (not really on parents’ musical radar) and it’s definitely the first I ever bought for myself. Not a bad start as it turned out.
It’s the first jazz album I bought, before I really knew what jazz was or that this was it - was just buying tons of random £5 classic CDs from Fopp when I went to uni. Ended up giving this one to my mum though, at 18 I was not ready for it at all.
Going to give it a couple of spins before I write up my thoughts but fair to say I’m more receptive to it now!