A brilliant, wide-ranging book on how the seminal album revolutionized music and culture in the twentieth century.
Publishers WeeklyOver 50 years ago, Miles Davis and his sextet walked into a church basement in midtown Manhattan that had been converted into a music studio. The album that emerged just nine hours later, Kind of Blue, not only changed jazz in a dramatic way, but it also changed popular music forever. As music critic Williams points out in this often exceptional, though sometimes pedantic, reflection, Davis introduced listeners in the Western world to a music suffused with a kind of mild exoticism that had its roots in Eastern philosophies. Many contemporary critics weren't exactly sure what to make of the album, but others recognized the powerful tremors that Davis's album sent through the music world. While the story of the making of the album has been well told before (as in Ashley Kahn's Kind of Blue), Williams traces the deep influence that the album had on a wide range of musicians, from John Cale and the Velvet Underground to Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, and Duane Allman. Williams's inspired reflections demonstrate the ways that luminous music can pervade other cultural forms and usher in momentous changes throughout all parts of culture. (Apr.)
Library JournalWilliams, a writer for the Guardian, acknowledges the definitive books on Kind of Blue—Ashley Kahn's Kind of Blue and Eric Nisenson's The Making of Kind of Blue—for those interested in the details of the creation of Miles Davis's classic album. He instead offers a personal musing on the impact the album had and continues to have on music of all kinds. Starting with a discussion of blue as a color and as a description of music and mood, Williams then offers a brief account of the creation of the recording. The rest of the book is given to following the wide ripples resulting from this event. Not everyone will agree with the connections being made, and, at times, the thread to Davis seems to have been lost altogether. Ultimately, however, the idea that none of the music Williams discusses would have been possible without the modal revolution begun with Kind of Blue is compelling. VERDICT An enjoyable, readable ramble through a varied sampling of modern music. Suitable for anyone with an interest in jazz, popular music, or popular culture.—Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
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