Happy Birthday Kind Of Blue, my first love in the genre of jazz:
My introduction to jazz was through live music, in the jazz Mecca of Great Falls, Montana, U.S.A. (sarcasm). I was doing some DJ stuff and promoting some live shows. I was approached by a local publican to book his venue with jazz acts on weekends and reached out to some local players who steered me in the right direction. Along the way I met a sax player named Dexter Gordon (nope, white dude from Billings) and a guitar player named Jim Hall (nope, young dude from Bozeman) and heard some wonderful music that was all new to me.
I never did hire a band with a trumpet player. But, to answer my annoying questions of who, what and where… me trying to learn about this music in a pre-Google world, one name kept popping up.
So, one day at the local thrift I found a jacketless, sleeveless, naked vinyl copy of Kind Of Blue, just lying there in the bottom of the record bin, all the A-Ha and Paula Abdul records looking down on it. I couldn’t have spent $0.50 cents faster!
I rushed the patient home, performed my best vinyl CPR and laid the patient on the platter of the turntable. Luckily, there were no warps, but there were significant scratches… no matter, I donned my favorite headphones and…
What beauty! What grace! Event through the haze of Rice Krispies static and annoying pops, this record was magic!
It seems subtle in a way. Davis’ use of mute on his trumpet really sets the tone for the whole show. Like he’s trying to hold back a dam burst. Bill Evans subdued piano never takes center stage, instead filling the voids and moving the story along. The bass and drums here, far from the hard bop east coast style that I have since found on previous Davis albums, are as cool as an onshore breeze.
The standout for me is the dual saxophone work by John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley. Melding at times into a harmonic duo and later splitting into dual leads… this album is one of my favorite records.
For Mark’s 365 Days of Vinyl, I treated myself to a re-issue (sorry honey), a 2010 Columbia-Legacy pressing on 180 gram vinyl. The thing recently went on sale at Amazon for <$20… how could I go wrong?
I listened to both copies today. I’m sad to say that old scratchy, my $0.50 thrift store find, will be retired from active duty after today. You’ve had a good run. It’s time to let the new guy spin: