Impact on Music
The album's influence has reached beyond jazz, as musicians of such genres as rock and classical have been influenced by it, while critics have acknowledged it as one of the most influential albums of all time. Many improvisatory rock musicians of the 1960s referred to Kind of Blue for inspiration, along with other Davis albums, as well as Coltrane's modal records My Favorite Things (1961) and A Love Supreme (1965). Guitarist Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band said his soloing on songs such as "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" "…comes from Miles and Coltrane, and particularly Kind of Blue. I've listened to that album so many times that for the past couple of years, I haven't hardly listened to anything else."
Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright has said that the chord progressions on the album influenced the structure of the introductory chords to the song "Breathe" on their landmark opus The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). In his book Kind of Blue: The Making of a Miles Davis Masterpiece, writer Ashley Kahn wrote "still acknowledged as the height of hip, four decades after it was recorded, Kind of Blue is the premier album of its era, jazz or otherwise. Its vapory piano introduction is universally recognized." Producer Quincy Jones, one of Davis' longtime friends, wrote: "That [Kind of Blue] will always be my music, man. I play Kind of Blue every day—it's my orange juice. It still sounds like it was made yesterday." Pianist Chick Corea, one of Miles' acolytes, was also struck by its majesty, later stating "It's one thing to just play a tune, or play a program of music, but it's another thing to practically create a new language of music, which is what Kind of Blue did."
One significant aspect of Kind of Blue is that the entire record, not just one track, was revolutionary. Gary Burton noted this occurrence, stating "It wasn’t just one tune that was a breakthrough, it was the whole record. When new jazz styles come along, the first few attempts to do it are usually kind of shaky. Early Charlie Parker records were like this. But with Kind of Blue [the sextet] all sound like they’re fully into it." Along with The Dave Brubeck Quartet's Time Out (1959) and Coltrane's Giant Steps (1959), Kind of Blue has often been recommended by music writers as an introductory jazz album, for similar reasons: the music on both records is very melodic, and the relaxed quality of the songs makes the improvisation easy for listeners to follow, without sacrificing artistry or experimentation. Upon the release of the 50th anniversary collector's edition of the album, a columnist for All About Jazz stated "Kind of Blue heralded the arrival of a revolutionary new American music, a post-bebop modal jazz structured around simple scales and melodic improvisation. Trumpeter/band leader/composer Miles Davis assembled a sextet of legendary players to create a sublime atmospheric masterpiece. Fifty years after its release, Kind of Blue continues to transport listeners to a realm all its own while inspiring musicians to create to new sounds—from acoustic jazz to post-modern ambient—in every genre imaginable."
Later in an interview, renowned hip hop artist and rapper Q-Tip reaffirmed the album's reputation and influence when discussing the significance of Kind of Blue, stating "It's like the Bible—you just have one in your house." Following its inclusion in the iTunes Store, a reviewer wrote of the musical importance of Kind of Blue, stating, "The essence of great art is that its power is inexplicable, and in the jazz stratos there's never been anything like this 1959 session. It reigns to this day as the genre's greatest hit and the most coherent album-length statement in modern jazz history ... Modern jazz starts here." Kind of Blue has been cited by many writers and music critics as the greatest jazz album of all time and ranks at or near the top of several "best album" lists in disparate genres. In 2002, Kind of Blue was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In selecting the album as number 12 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, Rolling Stone magazine stated "This painterly masterpiece is one of the most important, influential and popular albums in jazz."
And to put the matter to a fitting rest...
In which, The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love (First Minister Of The First Presley-terian Church Of Elvis The Divine (UK)) gives much respect and a loving goodbye to Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, JR Monte-rose, Jackie McLean and others, and which offers tasty samples of ‘Standing At The Burial Ground’ by Mississippi Fred McDowell, ‘Mannish Boy’ by Muddy Waters, and ‘Tell Me’ by Howlin Wolf.
Still not impressed? >>