MILES DAVIS (Kind of Blue) – YouTube

I haven’t posted anything to this blog in quite a while. I need to make sure I do so more often.

I played parts of Kind of Blue for my students the other day, and it reinforced for me just how accessible this album is. Personally, I think the accessibility comes from the simplified modal structures of the harmonies – long single-chord phrases with few changes per tune. “So What” is the classic example with just two chord-centers for the entire composition, just a half step from one another. I love the contrast between Davis’s and Coltrane’s solos, Davis working with simple motifs in the pocket while Coltrane takes a motif and bends and twists and extends it as he was wont to do. A beautiful composition, full of ideas but built on such a simple framework.

But my students really liked it. They actually shut up and listened when I played it for them. Usually they keep on talking when I play musical examples in class, only listening when I break it down for them a bit. Davis got their attention, though. More Miles in my classes, for sure.


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I am a musician and academic living in Western, Massachusetts. I blog mostly about music, though I include the odd post about political or historical events that pique my interest.

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