Miles Davis: Kind Of Blue 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition
At the pinnacle of those forward-thinking artists who challenged the status quo at the close of the buttoned-down, buttoned-up Eisenhower era, and brought us into the clear light of the 1960s – was Miles Davis (1926-1991). In every way, Kind of Blue (recorded and released on Columbia in 1959), starring Miles’ “first great quintet” – Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley (1928-1975, alto saxophone), John Coltrane (1926-1967, tenor saxophone), Bill Evans (1929-1980, piano) or Wynton Kelly (1931-1971, piano), Paul Chambers (1935-1969, bass), and Jimmy Cobb (b. 1929, drums, the only surviving member) – was the album that not only changed the private fan’s perception of jazz, but forever changed fellow musicians’ concepts as well.
A half-century later, Kind of Blue continues to inspire new levels of scholarship into its creation, new attempts to explain the album’s allure and influence. Tens of thousands of jazz albums, and at least three generations of jazz players later, the essence of Kind of Blue has never been duplicated. That may account, in part, for its RIAA quadruple-platinum status in the U.S. and worldwide recognition as a timeless masterpiece, #12 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.
KIND OF BLUE: LEGACY EDITION – which includes final LP tracks, and all known alternate takes, studio sequences, and one false start – now becomes the basic catalog staple by which the next generation will know this album. The double-CD package will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting January 20, 2009, through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
This Legacy Edition celebrates a masterwork and its prelude, offering the only other studio sides we have by Davis’ sextet, and a later live recording, illustrating how this band evolved and where they were headed on their journey toward immortality.
KIND OF BLUE: LEGACY EDITION comes four months after the September 30, 2008, release of KIND OF BLUE: 50th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTORS EDITION, and provides an affordable alternative to the box set. Among the many contents of that expansive and lavishly-designed 12-inch slipcase box was a 60-page bound book that included exclusive photographs, full discographical annotation, and critical essays written by Miles Davis authorities Francis Davis and Prof. Gerald Early, plus session transcripts by Ashley Kahn. The newly configured double-CD package will contain a standard CD booklet with a reworked 2,500-word version of the Davis essay, and an embedded .pdf file with an enhanced digital booklet adapted from the box set.
At the core of KIND OF BLUE: LEGACY EDITION is the original 45-minute album program, whose five titles – “So What,” “Freddie Freeloader,” “Blue in Green,” “All Blues,” and “Flamenco Sketches” – are indelibly etched in our contemporary musical DNA, be it jazz, rock, third through fifth stream classical, or beyond.
On Disc One, the five titles are presented intact: the first three numbers (“So What,” “Freddie Freeloader,” “Blue in Green”) that were cut on the first day of recording, two three-hour sessions on Monday, March 2, 1959; and the last two numbers (“All Blues,” “Flamenco Sketches”) recorded at the final three-hour session, Wednesday, April 22, 1959. All sessions took place at Columbia’s old 30th Street Studio, supervised by Columbia staff producer Irving Townsend, and recording engineer Fred Plaut.
After those original five tunes are presented, Disc One moves on to the alternate take of “Flamenco Sketches,” the only complete alternate take from the original recording sessions (a track first unveiled on the 5-LP/4-CD box set of 1988, Miles Davis: The Columbia Years 1955-1985, the first Miles Davis box set ever issued by Columbia). Following the alternate take, there are “studio sequences” (ranging from 11 seconds to nearly two minutes) for every one of the five titles, and one “false start” (for “Freddie Freeloader”).
While the 1959 sessions occupy Disc One – Disc Two turns back the calendar to May 26, 1958. The five completed tracks from that session with producer Cal Lampley – “On Green Dolphin Street,” “Fran-Dance” (with an alternate take), “Stella by Starlight,” and “Love for Sale” – are the only other studio recordings of the sextet with Adderley, Coltrane, Evans, Chambers, and Cobb (though live recordings exist on other Columbia/ Legacy album releases from the Newport Jazz Festival in July, and New York’s Plaza Hotel in September).
Now, for the first time, the five 1958 studio tracks are rightfully coupled – at last – with the five sextet tracks of Kind of Blue. The final track on CD Two is a mesmerizing 17-minute live concert version of “So What” (without Adderley, with Kelly), recorded in Holland, April 1960.
Release Date: January 20, 2009
Catalog Number: 88697271052
Number of Discs: 2