Kind of Blue is Miles Davis' most famous and critically acclaimed album. Since its 1959 release, it has become the top selling jazz album of all time and influenced countless musicians, not only in jazz, but in all kinds of genres. It's regarded pretty much unanimously as Davis' magnum opus, and not only the best jazz album of all timenote but one of the greatest albums of all time, period.
In 2002, it was added to the National Recording Registry for its cultural, historical and aesthetic importance. It was listed at #12 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Time Magazine's TIME All-Time 100 Albums list in 2006 also included it in their list of 100 timeless and essential albums.
- "So What" (Davis) - 9:22
- "Freddie Freeloader" (Davis) - 9:46
- "Blue in Green" (Davis/Evans) - 5:47
- "All Blues" (Davis) - 11:33
- "Flamenco Sketches" (Davis/Evans) - 9:26
The 1997 reissue adds an alternative take of "Flamenco Sketches" (9:32) as a bonus track.
- Miles Davis: trumpet
- Bill Evans: piano (tracks 1, 3-5)
- Wynton Kelly: piano (track 2)
- Jimmy Cobb: drums
- Paul Chambers: bass
- John Coltrane: saxophone
- Cannonball Adderley: saxophone
- Alliterative Name / Alliterative Title: "Freddie Freeloader".
- Colourful Theme Naming: The album title and the track "Blue in Green".
- Continuity Nod: The Spanish atmosphere of "Flamenco Sketches" would receive an entire album inspired by it, named Sketches of Spain (1959).
- Epic Rocking: All tracks are long jams. "All Blues", at eleven and a half minutes, is the longest; even "Blue in Green", the shortest, is still nearly six minutes long.
- Foil: Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come came out shortly after Kind of Blue, codifying the free jazz movement.
- Face on the Cover: A photo of Miles in close-up, playing trumpet.
- George Jetson Job Security: Miles built the album concept around Bill Evans, who had left the group months earlier, but had neglected to inform current pianist Wynton Kelly of the situation until Kelly arrived at the studio to record the album. Kelly does perform on "Freddie Freeloader".
- Improv: Most tracks only had one complete take; "Flamenco Sketches" had two. There were a few false starts and a bit of studio chatter as well, but there are only six complete takes from the album sessions.
- Instrumentals: It's an entirely instrumental album.
- Mundane Made Awesome: "So What", for such a throwaway expression it sure is a beautiful piece.
- New Sound Album: With "Kind of Blue", Davis completed his move from the complicated chord changes of hard bop to a compositionally simpler jazz style - modality - offering players a far simpler script from which to work.
- The Not-Remix: Post-1992 reissues fix an error where Side 1 was mastered at the wrong speed.
- Questioning Title?: "So What?"
- Debussy's opening measures of his work "Voiles" inspired the famous introduction of "So What".
- The sound of this album was a major influence on Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (1973).
- Duane Allman (The Allman Brothers Band) said: "I have listened to that album so many times that for the past couple of years, I haven't hardly listened to anything else."
- "So What?" was sampled in the song "Scenario" from A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory (1991).
- The folk-rock band Pentangle added lyrics to "All Blues" on their song "I've Got a Feeling" from their album Sweet Child (1968).
- Industrial hip-hop act dälek sampled "Blue in Green" in their song "The Untravelled Road".
- Something Blues: "All Blues".
- Super Group: The lineup for this album is pretty much a Dream Team to jazz fans.
- Spain: "Flamenco Sketches" evokes a Spanish atmosphere.
- Trivial Title: "So What".
- Variant Cover: 1980s reissues had a different shot of Miles on the cover.