Bill Evans' liner notes, for the "Kind of Blue" album
the pianist in Miles Davis' group in 1958, and after a few tracks recorded
and less than a year touring with the band, left to form his own trio
and expand his career,. He was called back to play on the now legendary
"Kind of Blue" album in the spring of 1959. According to many
sources, Miles concept for the modally-conceived tunes of the sessions
was indeed based on the playing of Evans. Bill, in fact, penned "Blue
In Green" (though the writer's credit still usually goes to Miles,
the Miles Davis Estate has finally admitted in 2002 on the official website
, that Evans wrote the tune) and his piano sound is so much a part of
the ambience of this historic album. "Kind of Blue" also featured
the legendary musicians John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Paul Chambers
and Jimmy Cobb. It is a marvel in the history of improvised music, and
is still the best- selling jazz album of all time --over three million
copies, as certified by the RIAA
and certainly the most beloved. These
liner notes below, written by Bill Evans, appear on the original recording
The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation.
This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflections, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician.
Group improvisation is a further challenge. Aside from the weighty technical problem of collective coherent thinking, there is the very human, even social need for sympathy from all members to bend for the common result. This most difficult problem, I think, is beautifully met and solved on this recording.
As the painter needs his framework of parchment, the improvising musical group needs its framework in time,. Miles Davis presents here frameworks which are exquisite in their simplicity and yet contain all that is necessary to stimulate performance with sure reference to the primary conception.
Miles conceived these settings only hours before the recording dates and arrived with sketches which indicated to the group what was to be played. Therefore, you will hear something close to pure spontaneity in these performances. The group had never played these pieces prior to the recordings and I think without exception the first complete performance of each was a "take."
--- Bill Evans
"KIND OF BLUE: THE MAKING OF THE MILES DAVIS MASTERPIECE"
classic book for a classic album, written by Ashley Kahn, (DaCapo Press,
Boston). It's TRULY INCREDIBLE! (You can read an interview with author Ashley Kahn here
from the excellent website JerryJazzMusician.com. It's a good one too
as Kahn talks about Bill's career (as well as the other players), his
writing BLUE IN GREEN and other matters (like the studio's piano). Kahn
got access to some very rare materials and never-before-seen session photos
from the label's archives and the book features some heretofore unknown
info on these classic sessions. There are interviews new and old, a sturdy
MILES bio up the 1958 album, Columbia's production sheets, sales figures,analyses,
info on the outtakes, European album cover versions, and more on Bill
Evans. A wealth of information on jazz's most important record ever --one
that become a true cultural phenomenon.
OF BLUE" stuff:
Buy it at amazon.com
Arts critic Terry Teachout's brief yet excellent blog essay on the album.
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