By David Harsanyi
August 28, 2019
Miles’ soft, muted trumpet sound (dry as a martini) has become synonymous with “cool” jazz, and there is no better example of the genre, or of his art, than this album. Kind Of Blue is the best-selling recording in his catalogue and the best-selling classic jazz album ever. It regularly tops All Time Favourite lists, and had become a template for what a jazz record is meant to be. It is also perhaps the most influential jazz record ever released. Musically, it’s where modal jazz really hit paydirt, and where linear improvisation came to the fore (Davis playing Samuel Beckett to John Coltrane’s James Joyce), and its tunes have been covered by everyone from Larry Carlton to Ronny Jordan. Influence is far-reaching; “Breathe” from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon was based on a chord sequence from this album. From its vapoury piano-and-bass introduction to the full-flight sophistication of “Flamenco Sketches”, Kind Of Blue is the very personification of modern cool. And, according to Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, it is also something else far more important: “Sexual wallpaper”.