Today March 2nd, is a day most jazz lovers consider holy. That is because on this day in 1959, the best selling jazz album of all-times was recorded. That album is ‘Kind of Blue,’ recorded by Miles Davis, along with his sextet-John Coltraine, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans and Jimmy Cobb. It’s also considered to be one of the most influential albums ever recorded. The Columbia record required two recording sessions, both March 2 and April 22. The album has many attributes, but two distinguishing characters of the record is that it is a classic example of modal jazz, defined as using scales, or a series of scales for improvisation. Davis also used this modal approach in the song “Milestone,” which was included in an album with the same name.
Another thing that makes the album unique is the fact that Davis called for almost no rehearsal and the musicians had little knowledge of what they were to record. He had only a few sketches of scales and melody lines on a piece of paper that he shared with his sextet, and once they assembled, Davis gave brief instructions about each piece and then started the recording session. What resulted was a masterpiece. Throughout the year, we will be referring back to this seminal work, but for now, let’s make ‘Kind Of Blue’ ‘The Jazz Album of the Day” or for that matter “The Jazz Album of the Millennnium.”