The making of Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue' album
Author Ashley Khan traces Davis' path from aspiring high-note bound bebop lion to the cool-toned result that was to be one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time.
If there is a way to make a living from music without actually being a musician, Ashley Khan has done it. He is a music historian, journalist, producer, radio commentator, and road manager. He has written countless magazine articles about music, and several books, including "Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece."
Davis went into the studio with one of the finest bands that could have been assembled at the time, including future jazz superstars Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderely, among others. There, he put on tape what was a reaction to bebop, having taken part in its creation only years earlier.
It's worth pointing out that Miles Davis came out of this tradition. "(Miles Davis) wanted to be a Dizzy Gillespie player. He wanted to be up in the higher register of the trumpet, playing these incredible runs. There is that famous statement he makes when he talked to Dizzy. 'How come I can't play like you?' Dizzy says, 'Because you don't hear it that way.'
"Miles, in finding his own tone, which was very vibrato-free, very dry, very cool, very late-night, found the perfect home to it around the mid-50s, especially with the arrangements of Gil Evans, et cetera.
"It was an experiment by Miles Davis to try and liberate jazz from what he thought was a very cliche, bebop-driven path of what was called 'playing chords,' or 'playing on the chords' of bebop. And so, that ferocity that Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and that creative fire, he sort of pours a sort of anti-freeze on it, so-to-speak," says Khan.
"The fact that he was going to make an album that would be still a best-seller 40 years down the road is just an incredible comment on what they were able to acheive in a most spontaneous and off-handed way."
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