Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Kind of Blue

Miles Davis


A jazz milestone that changed the scope and speed of the art form.

In the years between the dissolution of Miles Davis’ first great quintet and the formation of his second, the trumpet master ventured into something new in 1959—not knowing it would become one of jazz’s biggest albums ever. The fast-moving progressions of bebop and post-bop required improvisers to jump hurdles—something Davis knew all about as Dizzy Gillespie’s successor in the Charlie Parker Quintet. But on Kind of Blue, there were longer durations between chords, opening up space in the music; the soloist had the option of taking a breath.

“We’re still listening to it today as if it’s the most modern jazz record of all time.”

Stephan Moccio

Even as Miles brought the temperature down, he introduced new textures and tonal colors, drawing on the harmonic thinking of Gil Evans and George Russell, or even Debussy and Satie. In that sense the album was a continuation of Birth of the Cool, recorded 10 years earlier, and perhaps a harbinger of the ethereal In a Silent Way 10 years later. Two striking ballads, “Blue in Green” and “Flamenco Sketches,” are key examples of Davis’ work with the Harmon mute, yielding a metallic and intimate sound that jazz trumpeters have emulated ever since.